1/11/2014 7:00 AM
By Philip Gruber Staff Writer
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Youths from western Pennsylvania dominated the Pennsylvania Farm Show Sale of Champions, which drew record prices for both of the top goats on Tuesday.
Lauren Diamond, of Fayette County, set a record with the first animal in the sale. Her grand champion goat went for $4,100 to Ladies of Agriculture Today and Fulton Bank. That price beat 2011’s record of $4,000 and last year’s price of $3,500.
Scott Snyder of Butler County fetched $4,000 from Edge Marc Energy for his reserve champion.
Diamond’s fellow Fayette Countian Scott Gardner earned $13,000 for his grand champion junior beef steer from Hoss’s Steak and Sea House.
“I’m definitely really excited about it,” Gardner said.
“I knew I was going to be right up there” during the steer show, he said, adding that he felt better about his chances of winning as the show progressed.
The Brownsville Area High School senior also showed the champion pig in 2007, but showing the winning steer was a cool experience, he said.
For many years, Gardner’s family has worked exclusively with Ohio steer jockey Kerry Lawrence, who connected him with his winning steer.
“I trust him fully,” Gardner said.
Though Gardner’s drive from western Pennsylvania to Harrisburg took four hours, the trip to Farm Show is pretty short compared with some of Gardner’s other show excursions. A show coming up in Georgia is about 12 hours away, while getting to the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, takes about 14 hours.
The World Pork Expo does have the advantage of being in June, when the temperatures are unlikely to approach the subzero cold of this year’s Farm Show, he said.
Gardner also showed a pig and a goat this year at the Farm Show.
This year was his second-to-last year of showing eligibility. “You’ve got to grow up, I guess,” he said.
“A lot of these kids I don’t get to see too often,” usually only at shows, he said.
Gardner plans to attend Penn State Fayette for two years and finish his degree at Penn State Main Campus. He is interested in several majors, from livestock to accounting and statistics.
Paige Stahl of Somerset County got $6,000 from New Holland Sales Stable for her reserve grand champion junior beef steer.
Another Somerset County resident, Evan Hillegass, brought in $4,200 from Hatfield Quality Meats and Giant Food Stores for his grand champion junior market swine. At 10 years old, Hillegass beat Snyder by a year as the youngest exhibitor in the sale of champions.
Joe Espey, of Westmoreland County, pulled in $4,500 from Saubel’s Market for his reserve champion junior market swine.
The only youths from east of Somerset in the champion sale were Brittani Hook and Brynlin Carey. The two sheep showers are members of Team Belpine, a group of central Pennsylvania girls who have shown together for several years.
Hook, of Union County, picked up $4,500 from Bell and Evans for her grand champion market lamb.
Carey, of Lycoming County, made $3,300 from Bell and Evans, Fulton Bank and Lebanon Valley Livestock Auction for her reserve grand champion market lamb.
In total, the sale of champions netted $43,600. Proceeds from the sale help support the Farm Show Foundation scholarships.