Last year's auction raised a record $105,000. Proceeds from this year's event were expected to at least equal that amount, said Jeff Semler, a University of Maryland Cooperative Extension agent specializing in 4-H in Washington County.
"This is the big finale," said Ag Expo Queen Hannah Smith, 14. "I think the public comes out to the auction to see how hard the 4-H'ers have worked to get their animals in prime condition."
Hannah's capon contender was already past its prime, plucked and packaged in her Clear Spring freezer.
While her fellow 4-H'ers paraded around the ring with their live animals, Hannah planned to show prospective bidders a photo of her deceased Hubert, she said.
For the first time in the Ag Expo's history, poultry entrants were slaughtered before the Expo started due to the threat of avian influenza.
Timmy Martin's grand champion hog was full of life, snorting and stomping as it prepared to enter the auction ring. Timmy, 12, of near Smithsburg, said he would probably save for college the $672 that his swine commanded.
Amanda Hess, 15, of Ringgold, planned to deposit part of the $468 she earned from the sale of her reserve champion hog into her car fund, she said.
About 95 percent of each animal's selling price benefits 4-H'ers while a small percentage of the proceeds covers event costs and pays for such special projects as college scholarships for senior 4-H and Future Farmers of America members, Semler said.
Livestock champs generally bring the highest bids, he said.
Shannon Uzelac hoped to earn at least $2 per pound for her champion meat goat, Bodie, she said.
"Right now I'm using all my money for college," said Shannon, 18, of Hagerstown.
Stacie Leatherman hoped to sell her 950-pound grand champion longhorn steer, Colorado, for at least $1 per pound so she could buy a new air rifle, she said.
The 13-year-old Boonsboro resident competed in the National Junior Olympic Rifle Championship in Colorado Springs, Colo., earlier this year and wants to return to the event with a new rifle.
Chris Thomas of Boonsboro wished for at least $3 for each of his grand champion steer's 1,289 pounds - money he could use for college, he said.
He prepared himself to part with the steer, named Cream, after the livestock auction, said Chris, 15, but preferred not to think about his steer's future.
At least one steer at the livestock auction will fill the freezers of Washington County workers. Plant Manager Denny Ingram turned out to the sale to purchase beef and pork - one steer and one pig - to butcher and process for employees at Clean Earth of Maryland in Hagerstown, he said.