Written By:
Judy Etta

Washington County, WI – The Washington County Sale Committee is celebrating 50 years of bringing livestock auctions to the Washington County Fair. The auctions are for 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) exhibitors whose animals have become eligible to be sold through the judging process.

The first Washington County Fair Jr. Livestock Auction, was held July 23, 1970, at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Slinger, Wisconsin. It was held indoors in the Cattle Barn with the Auction Ring consisting of a flatbed trailer and a temporary auction ring.

Members of the first Washington County Fair Meat Animal Sale Committee included Maurice Hovland, Ernst Boehlke, John Kratz, Roy Esser, the first General Chairman of the Committee, and Dick Roembke, from Jackson, who was in charge of preparing facilities. Roembke is the only surviving member of the original Washington County Fair Jr. Livestock Auction Committee. He remains on the Committee, giving of his time, talent and knowledge for the last 50 years.

The Committee’s mission was to start an event that would give youth, enrolled in Swine, Beef, and Sheep projects, an opportunity to sell their project animal at an annual sale.

Auctioneers contributing their time through the years include Rollie Bast, Ron Bast, Ernie Kueffner, Pat O’Brien, Jim O’Brien, Wilmer Hilgendorf, Rich Rathke, Linda Boehlke, Dan Ritger, Rudy Hershburger, Pete Didier, Ken Schoebel, Cassie Hansen, Bob Johnson, and others. Ron Bast (son of Rollie Bast) has continued in his father’s footsteps and continues to be an auctioneer at the Washington County Fair Jr. Livestock Auction.

A bit of auction history – in 1970, twelve beef, seven lambs, and 19 hogs were sold. In 2018, 40 beef, 40 lambs, and 50 hogs were sold. In 1970, buyers spent approximately a total of $7,780. In 2018, buyers spent approximately a total of $249,250.

This year’s Washington County Fair Jr. Livestock Auction will be Thursday, July 25, at the Washington County Fair, 3000 Pleasant Valley Road, West Bend, with the sale social starting at 4:30 p.m. where you’ll be able to meet Past Champions of the fair who sold their animals from 1970 through 2018.

The auction of livestock will begin promptly at 6 p.m.

All Junior Livestock exhibitors will be receiving commemorative t-shirts; buyers will be given hats to mark the occasion.