PLYMOUTH - There were several hundred people who filled the Coliseum at The Sheboygan County Fair in Plymouth on Thursday to take in the 48th Annual Meat Animal Sale in support of youth exhibitors.

Proceeds from the sale of each animal go directly to the youth exhibitor to further his or her educational or agricultural pursuits. The kids are all members of a Sheboygan County 4-H Club or FFA Chapter.

Of the three top animals, two of the participants had made it to the top level in past years. However, Ethan Kohlman of Plymouth was the newcomer to the Grand Champion level of excellence.

Kohlman could barely catch his breath following the excitement of learning he would go home with the Grand Champion Market Hog distinction. His 273-pound hog was sold to bidder Sargento at $26 a pound.

“It’s crazy!” he exclaimed. He noted his family was equally giddy, and that the good news was especially welcome following the passing of his grandfather only a few months ago.

“It really means a lot,” Kohlman said. “It is mind blowing seeing how far I can go in the pig industry.

Victoria Kohlwey of Adell, who walked away with the Grand Champion Market Beef distinction after selling her 1359-pound beef to bidder Riesterer and Schnell at $5.50 a pound, echoed the sentiment of "it's crazy!"

And how did she get to this point today? “A lot of hard work and determination!” she declared.

The exhibitors and their animals were attached at the hip throughout the event after a summer likely filled with a lot of quality time together and care. Tyler Kies of Batavia, who walked away with the Grand Champion Market Lamb distinction, said the bond between the youth and their animals is often a very strong one.

“I really don’t want to see her go; she’s my favorite lamb,” he said of his 136-pound lamb that was sold to bidder Torke Coffee Company at $24 a pound. “But, she’s got to go.”

Bill Cain, a longtime auctioneer with the event, concurred that the participants spend a lot of time on their prized animals.

“They work hard all summer feeding the cattle, watering the cattle and grooming the cattle,” Cain said. “It is a very, very good experience. It gives them a lot of responsibility, and it is a very good learning experience.”

The Sheboygan County Fair in Plymouth continues through Sept. 4.

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