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Record-setting day at fair auctions
Times photo: Brian Gray Matt Maveus, 11, Monroe, holds his rabbit close as he prepares to enter the auction ring Saturday at the Fur and Feather auction at the Green County Fair. Maveus was one of 20 kids who sold rabbits at the fair. He earned $325 for his rabbit.
MONROE - Behold the power of cheese.

It was more than just a slogan Sunday as cheese lovers set a record for the amount of money raised at the Green County Fair's cheese auction. But, it wasn't the only auction of the weekend to surpass 2009's results. Saturday belonged to the kids who brought their birds, rabbits, lambs, steers and pigs.

Cheese Auction

Bidders spent a record $34,000, which was well beyond last year's auction bidding of $19,700

The most entertaining bidding was between R. Mueller Service and Equipment, Monroe, and Skip Brennan, who were bidding on the grand champion Muenster cheese made by Steve Stettler at Decatur Dairy.

The bidding started out low but soon became a contest between the two.

Auctioneers persuaded and joked with the two to keep increasing their bids, which quickly passed $500, then $600, then $700, with seemingly no sign of stopping.

"Go back there and give Skip a hug so he keeps bidding," the auctioneer said to one of the area dairy queens.

Eventually, R. Mueller Service and Equipment, owned by Tom, Nate and Steve Phillips, purchased all five pounds of the grand champion cheese for a record price of $1,000 per pound.

"I was pretty surprised," Stettler said when the bidding stopped. "It was pretty awesome."

The money from the cheese auction is used by the Foreign Type Cheesemakers group to help local organizations such as FFA chapters, the Historic Cheesemaking Center and Cheese Days.

Stettler said the money is donated because so many people support the Foreign Type Cheesemakers at the annual cheese auctions.

Fur and Feather Auction

Turkeys, ducks, chickens and rabbits were in the spotlight Saturday morning.

Bidders spent $14,545 on animals at the auction, which was about $1,000 more than last year.

Matt Maveus, 11, Monroe, was petting his rabbit to keep it calm before he took it into the auction ring.

Maveus is a veteran rabbit seller. This was his third year. In the past he's been the proud owner of a reserve champion rabbit.

On Saturday, he showed his rabbit off to the bidders, and smiled when he heard the final bid. The Hady family bought his rabbit for $325.

Emily Elmer, Albany, received the highest bid in the rabbit auction at $350.

According to Mark Mayer, Green County ag agent, the average price for a rabbit at the auction was $190.

There were other big winners at the Fur and Feather auction including Dan Lattin, Browntown Busy Beavers, who received $500 for his champion ducks, which were purchased by Mark's Chemical, Monticello.

The average price for ducks was $275, Mayer said.

Ducks, chickens and turkey are sold in pairs.

The biggest winner of the day was Dylan McGowan, Blanchardville, who received $650 for his turkeys.

The average price of turkeys was $357, according to Mayer.

Megan Olson, Brodhead, received $350 for her chickens. She scored the highest bid of the 33 children who brought chickens to the fair.

The average price for chickens at the auction was $217, Mayer said.

Livestock Auction

The livestock auction highlighted grand champion and reserve champion pigs, lambs and steers. Grand champion and reserve champion animals are the most coveted animals at the fair, and represent Green County at the Wisconsin State Fair in August.

The animals are purchased from the kids at the Green County Fair, but the buyers allow them to take the animals to the state fair.

Travis Zweifel, Albany, sold his grand champion and reserve champion pigs. He received $2,887.50 and $1,370 respectively for his two pigs. Tri-County Dairy, and Frei Livestock bought the pair.

The grand champion lamb, owned by Devan Brugger, Monroe, sold for $1,190 to Swiss Colony. Klondike Farms purchased the reserve champion lamb, owned by Kayla Klitzman of the Dayton Dairylanders, for $959.

Craig Carter and Janelle Eckdhal purchased the grand champion steer, owned by Brooje Suddeth, Monroe, for $4,923.75. Greg's Feed and Seed paid $3,102.75 for the reserve champion, owned by Mariah Ahrens, Brodhead.

Prices at the livestock auction Saturday were higher than last year, according to Mayer.

The average auction price per pound for steers was $1.45, which was up from $1.26 in 2009; the average price per pound for lambs was $3.92, which was more than the average price last year of $3.14; and the average price per pound for pigs was $3.30, which was greater than the last year's $3.21 average price.

The livestock auction raised $204,359, which was about $3,000 more than last year, Mayer said.