Morgan Wilderman of Greenville had the Grand Champion Rabbit Meat Pen Trio at the Illinois State Fair and sold the rabbits for $4,500 at the Governor’s Sale of Champions.
American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois, Farmers State Bank of Mount Sterling, AgriVest Farm Management and Keith Parr were the buyers.
The Governor’s Sale of Champions has always been one of the biggest events at the Illinois State Fair and this year was no exception. The sale was moved to the Coliseum on the fairgrounds, which provided a grand stage to highlight youth in agriculture. This extra space was filled with guests who were ready to open their wallets to support Illinois exhibitors.
Two records were broken at the sale. The first record breaker went to the Grand Champion Barrow, exhibited by Dylan McCafferty of Sherman. His barrow sold for $76,500 crushing the previous record of $25,000. The barrow was purchased by the CME Group. The CME Group also announced that they would donate $5,000 to each of the exhibitors at the Sale of Champions to attend the college of their choosing.
Another great surprise came for Taylor Donelson of Clinton, who exhibited the Land of Lincoln Grand Champion Steer. Donelson prefers to name her steers after country music artists and this Champion Steer was named Scotty, after American Idol winner Scotty McCreery.
McCreery, who just happened to be performing at the Illinois State Fair the night of the sale, caught wind of this and surprised her by showing up at the Governor’s Sale of Champions. McCreery stood in the crowd of bidders to help root on Taylor, but to also help raise the bidding higher and higher. Donelson’s Land of Lincoln steer sold for a record $61,000 to the highest bidder, Governor Bruce Rauner.
The junior exhibitors who showed the champion animals receive 80 percent of the sales price. The remaining 20 percent will be equally split between the Illinois 4-H and FFA programs.
A list of all the champions sold at the auction, as well as the exhibitors and the purchasers is linked to this story.