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An Ohio State Fair steer sells for record-breaking $225,000

Ryleigh Egbert from Auglaize County at the Sale of Champion Livestock auction with her steer, Cruiser.
Courtesy of The Ohio State Fair
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Ryleigh Egbert from Auglaize County at the Sale of Champion Livestock auction with her steer, Cruiser.

A 16-year-old Auglaize County teen sold her steer for a record-breaking $225,000 at the Ohio State Fair this weekend. The 4-H and Future Farmers of America Sale of Champions Livestock auction bid is the highest ever paid for any animal since the auction began in 1968.

There was a gasp of equal parts excitement and shook when the auctioneer announced Ryleigh Egbert’s steer had just reached $200,000 — the most ever bid at the state fair auction. Todd Schaub from Lima placed the top bid at $225,000.

The auction is meant to encourage young farmers to bring livestock projects to the Ohio State Fair. The champions of the market beef, lamb, meat chickens, goat, turkey, and Swiss cheese exhibits get to move on to the sale of champions auction.

Egbert’s steer, Cruiser, previously won various exhibits and shows. She said raising a calf is a very emotional process.

“They truly do become your best friend. You give us hours of any is, you know, whether it's sports, whether it's your summer, whether it's anything, sleep,” she said. “And the bond with them is extremely, extremely close.”

For Egbert — who’s been raising club calves for as long as she can remember — this was also a special steer.

At the auction, right before the bidding began, Johnny Regula, the auctioneer, said Egbert’s grandfather passed away earlier this year, and this one was for him.

“She told Grandpa, ‘This one's for you!' And by gosh she did it. She did it, it is time to sell him.” Regula said.

11 other records were broken in all other categories at the auction, totaling $676,500. The last record-breaking bid for an animal was in 2011 for $85,000.

Part of the money will go toward supporting 4-H and FFA programs. Egbert received $22,000 from her sale, which she plans to put into her college fund.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming