Thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals, the Dodge County 4-H had a successful 4-H ribbon auction on Saturday. The initial estimate was $38,900.

About 100 4-H members paraded their award-winning animals through the barn in Kasson, with auctioneers Travis Warka and Steve Searless coaxing bids from the audience. Some of the top bids that I noted were $900 winning bids for Dylan Miner's overall Grand Champion beef steer and Courtney Dohrmann's Grand Champion prospect calf. Bids reached $800 for Caitlyn Severson's Grand Champion market barrow and Noah Klocke's Reserve Champion gilt. The auction closed with a special final bid with money going to a purple ribbon fund.

Categories included horse, swine, dairy, goat, sheep, beef, rabbit, poultry and even the family dog. I noticed that the dogs who won in obedience categories were male dogs being led by young ladies. That might say something for who is the boss in most relationships.

It also seems that each year I attend this auction I see some of the smaller children dragging around some of the biggest animals and the kid who looks like a football lineman carrying a small chicken in the crook of his arm.

The youth who participate in the auction receive a set amount determined by the ribbon placement and the species of animal, according to the buyer's program, regardless of the amount of the winning bid. Money raised also helps youth attend the state fair, provides scholarships and funds year-round programming.

One of the behind the scenes workers this year was Cathy Moenning from Dodge Center, who worked hard to stage the animals and 4-H students for photographer Laura Seljan. Moenning, who has children in the program, tried to attract the animal's attention to have them looking in the correct direction. She used an aluminum-covered board, a squeaky toy and the sawdust from the floor. She occasionally had to remind the students to smile.