Minnesota State Fair’s Purple Ribbon Auction gives 4-H’ers a financial boost

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Following all of the 4-H livestock shows at the Minnesota State Fair this past weekend, 28 area 4-H'ers earned a spot in the coveted Purple Ribbon Auction.

Jadi Koep, grand champion market gilt. (Submitted photo)

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Following all of the 4-H livestock shows at the Minnesota State Fair this past weekend, 28 area 4-H’ers earned a spot in the coveted Purple Ribbon Auction.

The Saturday evening auction is a way for businesses, organizations and individuals from across the state to support the 4-H program and the youths who have earned top honors with their animals during the livestock exhibitions.

According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, the auction raised more than $605,000 for 4-H youths and animal science programs and scholarships. Five 4-H’ers from far southwest Minnesota combined to bring in more than $48,000 for themselves and the 4-H program.

Madelyn Vancura, a Jackson County 4-H’er who exhibited the Grand Champion Market Barrow at the state fair, sold her ribbon at the auction for $12,750 -- a new Purple Ribbon Auction record.

This is the second time Vancura has participated in the state auction, and she said she was overwhelmed by the support of Jackson County businesses that joined in purchasing her ribbon.


“It is just amazing to see our community coming together to go around and have all these sponsors,” she said. Lead bidders for her ribbon included DuPont Pioneer Seeds, Hormel Foods, and Wakefield Pork.

Vancura will get to keep 80 percent of the money earned in the auction, with the remaining 20 percent designated to further Minnesota 4-H, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation and Purple Ribbon Auction scholarships.

With the more than $10,000 she will receive, Vancura said she will purchase her 2017 4-H show pigs and their feed, as well as pay the electrical bills. She also plans to set some of the money aside for college. She will be a senior this year at Jackson County Central and plans to start college at South Dakota State University a year from now, where she intends to pursue a degree in animal science and swine nutrition.

Fellow Jackson County 4-H’er Jadi Koep also earned a spot in the Purple Ribbon Auction after exhibiting the grand champion market gilt at the state fair. Like Vancura, Koep’s purple ribbon also brought a record price at auction, at $11,500. It was purchased by Twin Cities Concrete.

Koep made her third consecutive appearance in the Purple Ribbon Auction this year, although it was the first time with a pig -- and the first time with a grand champion ribbon. Her first two auction appearances were with sheep.

“Getting the grand champion title helped raise the price,” Koep said, adding that the bidding was “crazy.”

“I had a big smile plastered on my face I’m pretty sure the whole time,” she said, adding that Twin Cities Concrete is owned by her great-uncle.

With the proceeds she’ll receive from the auction, Koep plans to spend some of it on future 4-H animals and set some aside for her college fund. A junior at Jackson County Central, she’s considering SDSU or Iowa State University for a possible biology-related major.


“I think it’s an amazing program,” she said of the Purple Ribbon Auction. “It gives all the kids something to look forward to and something to keep showing for. It’s such an amazing (reward) for all of the hard work and dedication that we put toward our animals.”

Gavin Mulder, another Jackson County 4-H’er, sold his reserve champion market beef for a record-setting bid of $12,500. Purchasers of the ribbon were Farmers Union Industries and the Jackson County Purple Ribbon Club.

In all, Jackson County had 12 4-H exhibitors earn spots in the Purple Ribbon Auction, followed by Cottonwood County with nine exhibitors, four from Rock County, two from Pipestone County and one from Murray County.

Thomas Sell of Cottonwood County received a record bid for his grand champion market meat goat at $6,000, with the ribbon purchased by Minnesota Farmers Union and Farmers Union Agency, and Sorenson Seed.

The Reserve Champion market lamb exhibited by Trey Baustian of Rock County was selected from the lightweight division and brought $5,500 when Minnesota State Fair Concessionaires and Interstate Power Systems made the purchase.

In addition to the sale of ribbons during the Purple Ribbon Auction, the event included recognition of 37 4-H livestock auction scholarship recipients. The scholarships, which included 2 $4,000 scholarships, 11 $2,000 scholarships and 24 $1,000 scholarships, were awarded from premiums received last year and matching dollars provided by 4-H supporters.

Among the scholarship recipients from far southwest Minnesota were Gavin Viland and Shantel Raatz of Pipestone County, Maggie Post of Jackson County and Juliana Pederson of Cottonwood County.

The Minnesota Purple Ribbon Auction is sponsored by the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association.

What To Read Next
Get Local