Dori Wilson said she just wanted to do the right thing.
Her friend, Sara Hess caught a pig in the Champaign County pig scramble last year, but wouldn’t be able to show it at this year’s fair.
Hess died in a car crash on Ohio 235 near Shanley Road in November as a result of a driver under the influence. Her death rocked the Champaign County community.
The decision was made that Wilson, a Graham sophomore, would take care of and show Hess’ pig, Cinco — named after Hess’ scramble number to honor her memory.
Hess’ family said the girls went to church and played volleyball together, and Wilson has been showing pigs for years — so showing Cinco at the fair was a no-brainer.
“I’ve been with (Cinco) since April and I see her every single day and work with her,” Wilson said. “It’s really time consuming, but throughout the summer you get really attached to them.”
Thursday was sale day at the Champaign County Fair, and dozens of kids walked their pigs into the ring — months worth of work on display for eager bidders in the audience.
The grand champion — the first in the ring — was sold for $2,500.
Wilson and 270-pound Cinco were seated at spot number 11. It had been determined beforehand that the money from the auction would go towards the Sara Hess Memorial Scholarship, which Hess’ parents established after her death.
Two-thousand dollars, three-thousand dollars— the numbers went flying up, and the ending bid for Cinco was $10,000. After the final bid, the audience stood in applause for the Hess family.
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“This has definitely been a rainbow on our cloudy day or our cloudy last nine or so months,” said Tori Hess, Sara’s sister-in-law.
Tori Hess said Sara wasn’t a stranger to the fair — she had shown dairy feeders and sheep in the past and her most recent venture, pigs.
“It’s very exciting to see these people who realize how much Sara meant, not only to us, but to them as a community and this fair,” she said.
Tori Hess had been promoting the auction, but she was in shock at how high the bids went. She said the community has rallied around the family since the night Sara died.
In the 4-H building at the fairgrounds, there’s a booth dedicated to Sara that displays her various 4-H projects and show animals through the years, as well as a poster for her memorial fund. After today, Tori Hess said she wasn’t sure on specific details yet, but the family would like to create multiple scholarships for kids who make a difference in the community — just like Sara did.
The Hess family said the scholarship’s total sits at about $20,000 after the auction.