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Everyone wins at ribbon auction

August 24, 2018 GMT

ZUMBROTA, Minn. — The lightning-fast auctioneer at the Goodhue County Fairgrounds riffed off prices in the hundreds for livestock being shown Aug 11.

This auction, however, wasn’t for any actual market swine, goats, heifers, lambs or poultry; it was for the ribbons these animals and their 4-H handlers won in this year’s county fair.

The Livestock Ribbon Auction is Goodhue County 4-H’s largest fundraiser of the year. This year, about $100,200.

Of the money bid for the animals shown in the ring, 80 percent goes to the 4-H’er and 20 percent goes to the organization.

4-H’ers had to earn either a blue or red ribbon to be eligible for the auction.


The gavel was falling for ribbons in the $200 to $900 range.

Between the bleats, moos, oinks and laughter in the auction shed, the sale is a way for the community to directly support 4-H participants such as Cole Haferman of Goodhue.

Now in his last year of 4-H eligibility, the 19-year-old said the ribbon auction is a great event for all involved.

“For me, it’s a little reward for 4-H’ers,” Haferman said. “It’s good to see that people recognize what you’re doing. It’s not like there’s just a bunch of hillbillies out there walking their sheep down the road.”

His 13-year-old brother, Grant, agreed, adding that it also continues a learning factor.

“It’s also good for the community to see this happening and learn about it,” he said. “A lot of people that live in urban areas, they don’t get to see this sort of stuff, either.”

Cole, who has been involved since he was 6’, said the fundraiser is a perfect example of bringing 4-H and the community together.

“There are so many businesses, even the Bank of Zumbrota, that recognize we’re putting in the work and that it shows,” he said. “That’s cool to see.”

But how can bidders see the work they’ve put in, exactly?

Cole said — at least with market lambs — people look for the “boxiness” of the body and the distinction of the muscles; that’s what drives bids for these animals.

While it was Kimberlee Carlson-Lodermeier’s first time at the auction, the teacher from Goodhue was no stranger to the program.

“I was also in 4-H as well, so I’ve been here myself,” Carlson-Lodermeier said. “It’s nice to pay back.”

She said she was bidding in the fundraiser to help the program continue its work.

“For me, I have kids who are going to be coming up, and you want to support them now, so that eventually your kids will also be supported,” she said. “You’re paying back, but you’re also paying forward.”