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Ripley community backs 4-H
Hansen cow helps auction surpass $110K

MARY MATTINGLY PHOTOHansen Sisters and Cow
Pictured at right, Amanda and Nikki Hansen bring “Daisy” to the auction ring. The cow brought in over $11,000 for the Samantha Hansen Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Mary Mattingly

Many people applaud 4-H, but Friday they did more than talk about it and showed support by donating cash to the hundreds of kids who participate in the livestock auction.

This year’s auction brought in $111,625, up from last year’s $100,200. The year before it was at $104,000. There were 145 buyers for 255 animals.

A highlight of the auction was when Samantha Hansen’s cow was brought to the ring by her two sisters. Hansen was a 10-year 4-H member and one of three South Ripley teens killed in a two-vehicle accident in the Spring.

The cow initially raised $1,250, but then auctioneer Rob Vestal opened it up to others, starting with $200 and then $100 increments. The pink bid sheets quickly shot up, dotting the full bleachers. It took about 30 minutes to record the many bids. Vestal got choked up, “That’s what 4-H is about,” he said. Over $11,000 was raised, and extension organizers say the money is still coming in. The cow named “Daisy” went home with the Hansens for calving purposes.

The total amount will go to the Samantha Hansen Memorial Scholarship, set up through the Ripley County Community Foundation. Fair organizers believe it’s likely the most ever raised for an animal. In 2009, 4-H supporters showed their spirit in a similar way for the family of Wade Preston Narwold. A Ripley County farmer, he had passed away just prior to the fair after a battle with cancer, and he left behind young children, all involved in 4-H.

This year the grand champion steer was not up for auction. Maverick Dwenger had decided in the Spring he would take it to the state fair. The reserve grand champion, owned by Braeden Blocker, raised $1,150.; however, another steer that didn’t get the judges’ accolades actually brought in the most money at $3,700. Overall, the beef market raised $49,197, up from last year’s $26,850. The swine sold for a total of $13,547, the meat goats, $4,148 and sheep, $1,515.

The auction can be an emotional arena though. Just minutes before the steer presentation, Bonnie Jeffries, the mother of 4-hers said, “It’s a highlight of the year,” but acknowledged her daughter would have a hard time once the steer sold. “It will be heart wrenching to say good-bye. “ It was, and she comforted Kyla afterwards. Tyler Kuntz admitted he was sad last year when his animal sold, but it’s easier this year. Many of the 4-Hers save the cash for college, and several used part of it to say thanks in an ad to the buyers. (See inside this newspaper for the livestock winners and the many buyers/supporters.)

Fair organizers were pleased with the entire fair week, reporting few if any problems. The cooler weather drew in good crowds for the grandstand events and midway. The state fair begins Aug. 2.


Airsoft guns seized at fair

An adult supervisor securing the fairgrounds in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 25, called the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office to report a 4-H participant witnessed three unidentified men handling a gun near the picnic tables situated close to the showers/bathroom area.

Ripley County Sheriff’s Deputies Kendall Hankins and Steve Sullivan responded. Due to the large number of 4-H children, who routinely stay overnight on the grounds, a heightened level of care and response was given to a call since there was no security on site.

When Hankins arrived, he located six males of various ages in and around the playground area. Most of them were wearing dark clothes with hooded sweatshirts, and appeared to be hiding around the playground equipment. Hankins saw several of the males, who appeared to be carrying both long guns and handguns. He learned they were employees of the traveling carnival crew.

Deputies, along with the assistance of Osgood Police, collected five handguns and three long airsoft guns from the men. The investigation found that these men were engaging in a game of “air-soft” like “tag” with these firearms. Carnival employees told officers that they regularly played this type of game similar to paintball, when they were off work for the night. They stated this type of behavior was intended for fun and that no bystanders were to be involved. While officers were speaking with the men, a camper staying with a 4-H participant was outside the shower house near the playground, and he reported that he was struck in the neck by a stray “air-soft” BB-like projectile. The injury required no medical attention.

All eight of the airsoft weapons were collected at the time of incident, and were held pending release at the end of fair week.

Grills encourages responsible gun ownership and handling practices. “Airsoft” firearms like the ones stated above can appear in many forms, and often times resemble functioning lethal firearms. Differentiating among a lethal firearm and life-like “airsoft” firearms creates a great challenge for officers and citizens alike, he said. “Airsoft” firearms look, feel, fire, and sound like real weapons, but they are not lethal in just about every instance. However, they do fire a BB like projectile at varying velocities, which can pose a threat to an unsuspecting victim,” Grills said. Proper eye, ear, and body protection is recommended when handling both real and simulated firearms.

The Ripley County Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens to always tell police during official encounters if they are in possession of a firearm, or other dangerous weapons.


Pick up this week's edition of The Versailles Republican for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

• Parole visit puts Holton pair in jail
• 2013 Ripley County 4-H Livestock Champions
• OSVD announce Sat. night truck and tractor pull results


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