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The tense crowd listened to the melody of the fast talking auctioneer’s voice until he suddenly declared “Sold!”

The process was repeated over and over at the annual 4-H livestock auction at the Harford County Farm Fair Saturday evening.

Fifteen-year-old Jarrettsville resident Melissa Grimmel was the first to auction off an animal. Her grand champion lamb went for $5.25 a pound at auction. Her grand champion steer sold for $2 a pound at the auction.

The grand champion hog, showed by Amy Poteet, sold for $6.20 a pound at auction.

This year’s livestock auction raised $126,343.10 for the animals’ handlers, all local 4-H members. While the dollar amount was down from last year, it’s because some of the big buyers were buying less. The prices “were good,” said Elke Neuburger, coordinator of the 4-H exhibits for the Farm Fair, and the kids were very happy with their prices.

Melissa Grimmel had both the grand champion lamb and steer last year as well, a feat her sister, Kristen Deford, says is rare.

“She had both last year too, two years in a row is pretty exciting,” said Deford, 26.

Both Deford and Melissa started showing livestock at a young age.

“It’s definitely a family thing,” Deford said.

All five Grimmel sisters, ranging in age from 4 to 28, have participated in the process.

“We’ve all been involved,” Deford said.

Hers is not the only Harford family that can call showing and auctioning livestock with 4-H a family affair.

Cassie Holloway, 17, of Darlington is one of several in her family to have participated in the auction over the years. Like Cassie, her brother, Mark, 16, entered a steer Saturday.

Cassie held her 1,300-to-1,400-pound Angus steer, Vladamir, in check as they waited their turn at auction.

She explained that her family started off at the fair showing pigs.

“We got this bright idea that showing cows might be fun,” Cassie said.

Her sister shows sheep, but Cassie prefers her steer. She doesn’t enjoy the challenges that sheep pose.

“Sheep are not bright,” Cassie said with a laugh.

It’s sometimes difficult to work with animals and not get attached, but Cassie feels she handles the problem well.

“Every time I get close to getting attached they do something to make me mad,” she explained.

She said it’s easier to get attached to pigs. Attached or not, Cassie said the animals can cause a lot of frustration when it gets to show time.

“They just don’t cooperate as well as they do at home,” she said.

Cassie will put the proceeds of Saturday’s auction toward paying for college. She is going to attend Texas A&M as an animal science major.

“It’s just an area jump, not a subject jump,” Cassie said.

Like his sister, Mark Holloway has been a part of the program since he was 8 years old.

“It’s allowed me to meet a lot of different people,” he said.

Getting the animals to auction takes more than transporting them to the fair, he said. Training them for the shows that precede the auction starts months in advance; Mark said he started working with this steer in November.

“It’s taught me a lot of responsibility,” Mark said.

Katie Stump, 16, of Havre de Grace, is in her 10th year of showing.

“I enjoy raising my animals and showing is really fun, too,” she said.

Katie said she always gets attached to the animals.

“You get used to it, though,” she said.

Stephanie Dausch, 17, of Norrisville, also has a hard time letting go.

“You prepare for it, but it’s always hard giving them up,” Stephanie said.

She wrestled with her 1,270-pound Simmental steer as he tried to have his own comments heard.

“I like showing cows; selling them is hard,” Stephanie said.

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