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The pork stops here

July 28, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Lindsay Beckley had mixed feelings about selling her goat Jack on Friday night at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

"I'm a little bit upset about it, but I know I have to do it," Buckley said.

The 63-pound Reserve Champion dairy goat was the second animal to be auctioned off at the 4-H/FFA market animal sale, where dozens of animals from rabbits to steers were sold for big money to the highest bidder.

Buckley walked Jack slowly over the damp mulch in the show ring while the auctioneer rambled off numbers rapid-fire.

"Three, canigit three, three."

Bidders raised their cards to drive up Jack's price, which went from $2 to $3, and finally $4 per pound. The winning bid was made by The Feed Bin, an animal feed supplier in Boonsboro.

But Jack's future is not as bleak as one might think.

"We come out every year, but we donate these animals back to the kids," said Starr Ramsey of The Feed Bin.

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In fact, many of the bidders Friday night said they had no intention of keeping the animals they bought.

Chuck Wade, commercial account manager for Hagerstown Ford, said his company spends $2,000 to $3,000 every year on animals at the Ag Expo, none of which are kept by the company.

"This gives us an opportunity to come out and give something back to the community," Wade said. He said Hagerstown Ford gives goats back to the youths that own them, and has steers processed and the meat sent to San Mar Children's Home.

Jack Downin, who has been an auctioneer at the market sale for at least 20 years, said charity is a hallmark of the event.

"You'll find that some of the bidders do buy these animals for consumption, but a lot of them are just trying to give back some of what they've gotten," Downin said.

Downin noted that many of the winning bidders, such as Donald Spickler Insurance, Anytime Electric and Jefferson Security Bank, have no use for farm animals.

"What are these guys going to do with a goat or a pig?" Downin said.

Even John Joppy of Joppy's BBQ, who bought a 220-pound hog, said he was giving the animal to the 4-H swine club.

"I'm a vendor out here, and if I make money, I feel like I should give some of it back," Joppy said.

But while most buyers said they were donating the animals they bought, at least one was there to keep what he bought.

Charles Hose, bidding on behalf of Bragunier Masonry, was one of only a handful of bidders interested in Donnie Stoy's Grand Champion steer, which weighed in at 1,386 pounds.

The bidding began at $5 per pound, but quickly dropped to $2. The steer finally sold to Hose at $2.50 per pound, or $3,465.

Hose, who has been bidding at the Ag Expo for at least 20 years, made no bones about his plans for the Ag Expo's most valuable animal.

"I'm going to eat it," Hose said.

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