The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Gogebic 4-H auction hits $1 million mark


Tom Stankard

JOHN KOSKI, center, holds a plaque commemorating the Gogebic County 4-H Livestock Auction surpassing the $1 million in cumulative sales mark. The milestone was passed when Kevin Lahti, far left, of Lahti Towing and Sales and Dan Maki, second from right, of Lakeshore Equipment, purchased the steer Nicki Lekie, right, raised. Her steer sold for $3.70 per pound. Koski was one of the founding members of the auction.

IRONWOOD — After coming close last year, the Gogebic County 4-H Market Animal Auction surpassed the $1 million in total sales mark Saturday at the Gogebic County Fair.

Coming into the auction, the county’s 4-H program coordinator Ashley Hampston said the $47,894 raised last year was “just” $2,960 shy of reaching the $1 million milestone.

The first animal up for auction Saturday put the club over the $1 million threshold, thanks to Ironwood’s Nicki Lekie’s grand champion steer weighing 1,330 pounds, which sold for $3.70 per pound to Lahti Towing and Sale and Lakeshore Equipment.

The 4-H program began in 1972 and was originally called the “Hindquarters,” when beef breeders and other interested parties started planning to put together a youth steer project for the Gogebic County Fair to allow the area’s youngsters to show and sell their steers.

Two years later, the auction was founded by four local farmers — John Koski, Gibby Palojarvi, Ted Friedman and Rudy Martinson — as a way to support the youth program.

Fifteen steers were sold during the initial auction.

Forty-two years later, Hampston said the auction is still going strong and has expanded to allow hogs, lambs, broilers and turkeys, in addition to steers.

Along the way, Koski said hundreds of young farmers have been supported in their efforts by local buyers.

In 2013, the auction collected $33,000, and doubled that amount the following year. Last year, Hampston said the club hoped to reach the $1 million mark, but some of the “hogs were underweight.”

This year, Hampston said she was pleased the results of the auction — which raised $44,114.

There were 24 young farmer involved in the county’s 4-H program who sold animals for this year’s auction.

The sale is the final part of the experience 4-H members have raising animals, according to Hampston.

Throughout the year, she said the youth learned about farm animals, how to raise them and show them and the different body parts and meat cuts.

By being in the 4-H program, Hampston said the members also learn about communication skills.

She said the program’s name is a reference to the occurrence of the letter “H” four times in the organization’s original motto, which was “head, heart, hands, and health.”

According their website, the current motto is “to make the best better.”

Not everyone has to raise an animal to participate in 4-H, and there are seven members in the animal project who didn’t sell animals at the fair. Hampston said the group meets every Monday to help do maintenance work during the summer to prepare the fair grounds; including walls and the entrance way to the cattle barn, fixing the wash station and auction arena and many more projects to help make the fair and auction a “success.”

Moving forward, Hampston said she hopes the 4-H program and the market animal auction will continue to be a success for many more years.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019