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Mallard Youth Exhibits Iowa State Fair Champion

By Staff | Aug 30, 2011

Tristen Ruppert of Mallard leads his Grand Champion 4-H Market Heifer into the auction ring at the Iowa State Fair on August 20 as Iowa State Fair Queen Paris Schnepf, right, looks on. Ruppert, the son of Darrel and Michelle Ruppert, saw his heifer sell for $24,000 in the State Fair’s Sale of Champions in his first-ever trip to the State Fair as a livestock exhibitor. –-Iowa State Fair photo/Steve Pope Photography

It’s been quite the summer for Tristen Ruppert.

In his summer vacation from West Bend-Mallard schools, he worked on the farm with his dad and extended family, tended to his own 4-H project, and did the things that normal junior high aged kids enjoy doing. Tristen, the son of Darrel and Michelle Ruppert of Mallard, is a member of the Fern Valley 4-H Club in Palo Alto County where his projects include beef, swine and sheep. He is a seventh grader at West Bend Mallard School where he participates in football, basketball, track, and baseball. Tristen also enjoys fishing, hunting and farming and is active in his church.

Then came the Palo Alto County Fair in July, and Tristen ended up exhibiting the Grand Champion Market Heifer during the fair’s Market Beef Show. The heifer drew lots of compliments and the quiet young man was already thinking ahead to another show the Iowa State Fair.

Just a few short weeks after his triumph at the Palo Alto County Fair, Tristen loaded his heifer up and the Ruppert family made the trek to Des Moines for the Iowa State Fair. It was Tristen’s first time to exhibit an animal at the State Fair, an intimidating experience, to say the least, with the best of the best in the ring in front of hundreds, even thousands of spectators.

On Wednesday morning, August 12, Tristen led his 1,285 Angus heifer into the Pavilion at the State Fairgrounds in the 4-H Market Beef Show, leading her around the pavilion show ring under the watchful eye of Judge Clint Rust of Brookings, SD.

In the show ring, Tristen was in his element he’d spent time with his heifer, grooming, walking, practicing how to set the heifer to make her look the best she could for the judge’s discerning eye. And, on top of that, Tristen himself was focused in on the judge, watching his every move, almost oblivious to the crowd and other exhibitors and animals in the ring.

The hard work paid off in spades for young Tristen.

Judge Rust liked the little heifer and the way she was exhibited by her owner, and at the end of the show, Tristen Ruppert had been named the exhibitor of the Grand Champion 4-H Market Heifer of the 2011 Iowa State Fair.

Of course, as a champion, Tristen’s heifer was sold on Saturday, August 20, during the State Fair’s Sale of Champions, where she fetched a price of $24,000. The purchase was a cooperative effort by Midwest Club Calf Producers, TransOva/Bovance, Cyclone Trace Cattle Co., with support from Collison Embryo, MaxYield Cooperative and the Ruby Cattle Company. An additional $16,300 local support rounded out the purchase price for the heifer.

Participants in the Sale of Champions were asked to find hometown supporters to set a floor price for bidding. That floor price was the $16,300 figure. The purchaser in the auction paid the difference between the floor price and the final sale price. Tristen would end up taking home a check for 80 percent of the animal’s sale price.

The Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement, the sponsor of the Sale of Champions, keeps 20 percent of the sale proceeds from each animal in the Sale of Champions to fund the scholarship program and cover Sale expenses.

At the end of the Sale of Champions, a total of $286,300 was raised by the IFAA for future scholarships for agricultural students. When added with the $147,000 of scholarships and performance and carcass awards presented prior to the sale, the IFAA bestowed $429,700 on young livestock and poultry exhibitors during the day’s event. Since the inception of the Sale of Champions in 1988, the IFAA has given out more than $4.3 million through Sale proceeds and scholarships to deserving youth participating in agricultural-related projects and interested in agricultural-related careers.

For now, it’s back to the books in the classroom, and the whistle of the coaches on the practice field. But one thing is for sure, Tristen Ruppert got an education this summer that won’t be soon forgotten.