4-H Celebrates 50th Auction At Chautauqua County Fair

DUNKIRK – Family honored traditions set in stone made a huge hit at the Chautauqua County Fair Friday afternoon.

It was 50 years ago when a father, friend and farmer looked to create a place where 4-H kids could be rewarded for their hard work.

Hugh Oag, with a little help from his friends, created the 4-H Auction.

“4-H and Hugh Oag went hand in hand for many of us that were so fortunate to be involved in dairy cattle showing during our youth,” Emily Reynolds, auction coordinator said. “4-H is an organization comprised of people one might refer to as ‘the salt of the earth.’ They are outstanding role models for young people to emulate.

“When I learned of Hugh’s death I knew I wanted to do something in his honor, Reynolds said. “I would like to encourage anyone who was touched by Hugh to keep 4-H alive in Chautauqua County.”

Auction Committee Member Irene Lesch said the first meat sale in 1965 started with 16 baby beef; now there are 175 animals covering five species.

There were 71 hogs, nine goats, 14 chickens, 41 sheep and 30 steers sold at this year’s auction.

Emily Winton of Sinclairville pulled in the most dough with her hog ‘Bella’ selling for $22 a pound to the Wall Street Dairy in Mayville.

The child has to be at least 9 years old to be part of the program, and can continue until they are 19. Many do this for all 10 years, and volunteer afterward to stay involved.

4-H has 22 clubs in Chautauqua County, nine animal projects, 443 members, and 179 volunteers.

“The kids work all year and I like to help them. This is a great program,” Assemblyman Andy Goodell said. “It teaches a lot of responsibility and it rewards them for their hard work at the end of the year.”