The Champaign County Fair is helping making sure a 17-year-old West Liberty Salem student won’t have to worry as much about high student loans after he won the Grand Market Champion Market Barrow competition two years in a row.
Sam Warye, who said he’s already started looking at colleges in Ohio, earned $2,500 in the competition at this year’s 172nd Champaign County Fair, which ends Friday. Warye said the money will go into a college fund. Last year, he won $2,000 in the competition after the animal was purchased by a group of buyers at the auction.
Warye said he’s only been raising the animals for seven years, and has had a lot of support from his family and his FFA advisor.
“My family has been supporting me for a long time with this,” Warye said.
Winning the competition takes a lot of work, he said, including spending a few hours each night working with the animal and monitoring its weight, health and cleanliness to make sure it’s ready for the fair.
This year’s Champion Market Overall Gilt went to Paige Martinez, 11, of Graham Elementary. She won $1,550 for her animal, which will also go into a college fund, and help pay for next year’s animals.
Martinez said she brought two animals to this year’s competition.
“It’s just fun, I like showing them,” Martinez said.
Last year, she won the rookie showmanship competition at the fair.
Her mother, Tiann Wilson, said the animal weighed about 50 pounds when Martinez started the project in February and early March. The animal’s weight was listed at 234 pounds on the day of the sale.
Wilson said Martinez has been raising the animals since she was three years old, even though this is only Martinez’ second year in 4H.
The main goal every year is just to raise enough money to help cover the next year’s projects, Wilson said.