GOSHEN — The 2013 4-H auction is off to a strong start at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Friday, July 26.
The grand and reserve champion lambs sold for a combined $5,120, while Mary Shipley's rabbit set a record, fetching $4,200.
“I knew I was having a buying group, but I didn't know how much. It was awesome,” said Shipley. The 10-year 4-Hers friends and family got together to reward her for a decade of hard work.
The previous record was $1,050, set in 1999.
After the rabbit and lamb auctions come the goat, poultry, dairy, dairy feeder calf, swine and beef auctions.
Sierra Walter had her best goat auction ever. In fact, she had the best goat auction ever.
The 2013 Elkhart County 4-H Fair Queen's reserve champion goat fetched a record sum today, Friday, July 26, at the 4-H Auction, $17,000 — a total to rival champion beef.
It wasn't because of the animal, though. It was because of Walter's life, her attitude and her committment to fund research to overcome the disease which challenges her lungs every day, cystic fibrosis. She will donate 15 percent to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“I just want to thank everyone for the love and support they've shown me in my 10 years,” Walter said at the auction.
“She's just one of those special people. You just want to help her, though she doesn't ask for it. She's humble,” said Dr. Robert Abel, her physician and a member of the buyer's group that went in together to surprise Walter.
In fact, Walter quietly put together the group which set a record in 2011 when the goat club auctioned off a goat to benefit 4-H Saddle Club member Rachel Grove, who'd been injured in a tractor accident.
“It was a good experience. I was glad I could help her out,” Walter said before Friday's surprise auction.
Barney Beer, another member of the buyer's group, said, “A lot of us watched her struggle over the last 12, 13 years. She's been in and out of hte hospital, always able to keep her head up high and do what many people thought she wouldn't be able to do. She's really had perseverance.
Abel said, “She's such a sweet girl. Despite her permanent disability, she doesn't dwell on that.”
He also said, “down deep whe know what the outcome could be. Many times people with a disability like this will sit back and figure, 'Why try?' She's never been like that. If anybody will overcome this, she will.”
Walter has helped raise money in the past for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Abel said, and “she's done a lot for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.” In fact, Sierra donates a quarter of her auction proceeds to the foundation.
A 10-year 4-H member, “She's a real ambassador for 4-H,” Abel said.