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Pig brings in $25k at Merced County Fair auction

Jack Ford's hog, "Goldie," was auctioned for $25,000 at the Merced County Fair.
Jack Ford's hog, "Goldie," was auctioned for $25,000 at the Merced County Fair.

The other white meat is golden at the Merced County Fair.

Jack Ford, a member of the McSwain 4-H club, decided a few months ago to enter his swine crossbreed in the Merced County Fair's junior livestock competitions. By the time the fair rolled around, the pig weighed in at a whopping 265 pounds.

The livestock auctoin was held last Saturday, but Ford had to wait all day because his entry was selected as the Swine Grand Champion, meaning there were 540 animals in front of him, auctioned off one by one. The auction started at 9 am and Ford’s pig was finally up for bids just after 5:30 pm.

Other pigs had already been sold, most of them for about $2 per pound. But they were not grand champions.

The auctioneer began his chant and it became obvious this animal would not sell for $2 per pound, Bids were soon up to $5, $10 and even $20. Ford, dressed like a "Price is Right" contestant, relished the moment, pumping his arms as the bidding increased.

The crowd soon came to life and the tent filled up. Occasional cheering and mild clapping erupted as the price reached $30 and some thought the bidding would soon stop.

But the savvy auctioneer realized he had three bidders, each of them set on buying that animal. He deftly maneuvered the auction higher. Three bidders dropped out when bidding reached $70 per pound, but the auction didn’t stop. Bids came in at $72, $75, $76, $79, $80. At that point the auctioneer reminded the audience that others could start playing if they wanted; it didn’t have to be the same two bidders.

One of the bidders made a grand ploy to put an end to it, offering $90. Instead the auctioneer said he was running out of breath and paused a couple seconds. $91, $92, $94, $95 -- finally, $96.

The auctioneer paused again, and then declared the auction over with a resounding "sold."

The crowd went wild, clapping and cheering. People applauded when the name of the buyer, Rick Kirby, was announced.

The pig had just sold for $25,440.

Ford shrugged off the high bids when asked about the auction later that night. "It had to be," he said. "My pig’s name is 'Goldie.'"

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