CROWN POINT – Jacob McKay, 15, already had bragging rights by the time the 4-H Large Animal auction rolled around Saturday at the Lake County Fair.

Jacob’s 297-pound Duroc hog, Kong, had been chosen Grand Champion in its category by fair judges. But then the Large Animal Auction began, and together Kong and Jacob set a fair record. Kong sold at auction for $5.50 per pound. McKay broke not only the fair record, but his own. In 2017, Jacob’s hog, which also won Grand Champion in its category that year, sold for what was then the fair record, $3.50 per pound. The nearly 300-pound Kong topped that per-pound sales price by two dollars.

“It was a great experience,” said Jacob, after taking Kong back to his pen. “I’m very happy.” With his parents Brian and Ellen at his side, Jacob confirmed he’ll be back next year. Jacob, a soon to be sophomore at Lowell High School, is participating in his seventh Lake County 4-H fair this summer, and sees no reason to stop now.

4-H Fair-going takes up a lot of the summer, said Brian McKay, but is definitely worth it. The McKays, of Lowell, were just one of the many families who showed up for and participated in Saturday night’s Large Animal Auction. Though the weather was sweltering inside and outside the Livestock Show Pavilion, onlookers and potential buyers crowded around the auction pen and stand.

Small animals, such as champion rabbits, had been auctioned off earlier in the afternoon, making way for large livestock like hogs, sheep and cattle.

The process was classic auction-style; the auctioneer bracketed by two assistants taking bids. But it began 4-H style, with both the pledge of allegiance and the 4-H pledge, the latter of which the entire audience appeared to know by heart.

Before Jacob and Kong got to make their showcase appearance, Fair superintendents Nicole Kasparian and Amber Miller, who oversaw the swine and sheep exhibits and exhibitors, took to the stage to thank the many young people who not only exhibited but pitched in to make the affair a success.

“(Everyone) did an outstanding job,” Kasparian said. “Thanks for all the help, support and good wishes.”

The Lake County Fair wraps up today with Hot Wheels racing, petting zoo and bird encounter and live animal shows.

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