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McKenna Modreske Pulls Off Sheep Sweep


by Steve Grinczel

Published: Friday, September 24, 2021

It's no wonder McKenna Modreske chose the word "overwhelming" to sum up her experience at the Allegan County Fair Youth Livestock Auction.

First, she presented the grand champion ewe in the sheep auction last week Wednesday. After the gavel fell on the $25,250 sale back to her parents' Modreske Swine Farm in Wayland, she hurriedly got back in line with her 152-pound grand champion wether, which went for $10 a pound, or a total of $1,720 (with add-ons), to State Farm Insurance/Bob Hayes.

With scant time to catch her breath, Modreske then auctioned off the grand champion sheep carcass for $8.50 a pound ($1,164.50) as the first exhibitor to sweep Allegan County 4-H sheep show honors since Kendra Van Order of Hamilton in 2001. The carcass was purchased by Cripps Fontaine Excavating.

Then Modreske, who also took grand champion showmanship honors in the sheep show, was off to the beef barn to fetch her 1,308-pound, reserve champion steer which sold in the beef auction for $5 a pound ($7,540) to Waanders Concrete Co.

Except for being a little misty-eyed over saying goodbye to the steer she named "Pogue" after a tribe in the Outer Limits television series, Modreske came out of the auction no worse for wear.

"I've been getting up every morning and being with my animals, and it's really hard to let them go because we're really close, and I'm their best friend, and it's hard to get rid of them," she said. "But this is just what I love to do."

At the urging of fellow livestock exhibitor and indispensable auction helper Jadin Herzog, Modreske chose not to enroll in the ninth grade at Hopkins High School this year in favor of being homeschooled so she could spend maximum time with her livestock.

"I gave up basketball and volleyball for this because this is my life, and it's my lifestyle," she said. "It's just like a sport it is a sport for me."

Although Modreske is in the midst of what her mother, Laura, called "her best year ever," the sheep sweep wasn't something she took for granted going into the competition.

"That's what I was shooting for; it wasn't expected, though," said the six-year 4-H'er. "I was surprised."

The old adage, "the harder I work, the luckier I get," certainly applies to Modreske.

"She worked a long time for this," said Laura. "That kid's in the barn four or five hours a day everyday working cattle, working lambs, working hogs. Livestock is her passion.

"You train to win, but you know it doesn't always happen. And all that training starts at home. The steers are like 400 pounds when she gets them, she farrows the pigs herself at our house and does all the A.I. breeding for the gilts.

"She gets the sheep when they're babies, about eight weeks old, and raises them."

Van Order, a well-known 4-H volunteer, in Allegan County has been teaching Modreske how to "fit and clip" her steers and travels to shows with the family.

The Modreskes have also been working with a sheep breeder, Platinum Shelton Livestock of Marcellus, for four years.

"We get sheep from them every year and if they have a good ewe then we get it and then we breed it so she has a better one for the next year," Laura said. "We bought (the grand champion ewe) back for breeding for future projects. (Platinum Shelton) will breed her and next year McKenna will show her babies."

Modreske and Herzog, who is also homeschooled, had planned to show their next generation of steers at the World Beef Expo in West Allis, Wis. this weekend.

"It's kind of like a team effort so I'm kind of proud of both the animals and myself," Modreske said of the Allegan auction. "And all the people that helped me."

The Allegan County Youth Livestock Auction brought in a total of $658,079.10. Auction-goers spent $269,158.50 on 188 swine lots and $241,157.10 on 43 beef lots and. Forty-one sheep lots went for $66,178.25.

The two animals in the dairy steer auction sold for $6,538.25 and 11 dairy starters went for $14,970. The gallon of milk sold for $35,475 from 62 contributors, with proceeds going to the 4-H dairy program.

In the small animal auction, 20 goats accounted for $13,106, 16 rabbit lots brought in $7,913, poultry made $1,527.70 on 66 lots and the turkey auction produced $2,054.70 on two meat pens.

In the beef show, Baleigh Schricker exhibited the grand champion and was named grand champion showman. Her 1,339-pound steer sold for $8 per pound ($10,912) to Milbocker & Sons. Jessica Harvey's grand champion beef carcass sold for $3,530 to Wedeven Brothers Construction and the reserve champion carcass of Colby Tucker went to Farmers Co-op Elevator Co. for $5,440.

In the swine auction, Kilee Kleinheksel showed the grand champion gilt. It weighed in at 268 pounds and sold for $12 per pound ($3,484) to a support group consisting of: GreenMark Equipment; Farm Bureau Insurance/Hop Agency; and

G.B. Seed & Service/Beck's Seed. The reserve champion gilt was raised by Brayden Jipping who received $15.50 per pound ($4,340) for the 280-pound animal from Beck's Seed/Wildt Family Farms.

Bryce Ostrom auctioned off the grand champion barrow weighing 294 pounds for $11 per pound ($3,234) to Brenner Excavating. Mason Boeskool's reserve champion barrow weighed 308 pounds and sold for $6 per pound ($2,248) to A&B Farms.

Welchkin Acres paid $1,375 for the grand champion swine carcass presented by Nathan Buist. Schricker's reserve champion swine carcass sold for $1,417 to Naus Racing.

Rounding out the sheep show, Tucker had the reserve champion ewe, which weighed 140 pounds, and received $10 per pound ($1,550) from Farmers Co-op Elevator Co. Stephanie Harvey sold her 147-pound reserve champion wether for $9 per pound ($1,653) to Brenner Excavating. Tucker also brought the reserve champion carcass and it was purchased by Linda Burton Collier for $1,580.

In the dairy steer auction, Logan Welch's grand champion weighed 1,505 pounds and sold for $2.75 per pound ($4,188.75) to GreenStone Farm Credit Services. Tristan VanDenBerg showed the 1,022-pound reserve champion dairy steer and it sold for $2 per pound ($2,349.50) to Waanders Concrete Co.

Tucker's name appeared again in the dairy starter auction. His grand champion weighed 684 pounds and sold for $3 per pound ($2,052) to A&B Farms. The reserve champion dairy starter of Parker Klaasen weighed 475 pounds and sold for $3 per pound ($1,425) to Endert Farms.

In the goat show, Cooper Ostrom showed the grand champion non-dairy goat which sold for $1,302 to Farm Bureau Insurance/Hop Agency. Trenton Flokstra's reserve champion non-dairy goat fetched $1,183 from Gene Compagner.

The grand champion dairy wether was shown by Kerawyn Miller who auctioned off the animal for $920 to Miller Creek Farm Registered Herefords and Pickle Street Veterinary Service. Joy Hiemstra's reserve champion dairy wether attracted a price of $693 paid by A&B Farms.

Curtis Flokstra sold the grand champion goat carcass for $797.50 to Petro Farms. Chase Laarman's reserve champion goat carcass went to Brenner Excavating for $488.

Laarman also showed the grand champion meat pen in the rabbit auction. He received $686.40 from Barber Ford for the rabbits. Makayla Boeske's reserve champion meat pen sold for $639 to Honor Credit Union. Tally Laarman's grand champion roaster went for $270 to Pickle Street Veterinary Service.

Rabbit exhibitors sold a gift basket to Lane and Mindy Sturman for $300 benefitting the rabbit barn.

In poultry, Jordan Beers received $588 from Dr. Ken and Dian Main for the grand champion roaster. Micah Estelle's grand champion broiler commanded a price of $400.20 from Dumont Lake Family Campground. Jack Estelle received $274.50 for the reserve champion broiler from Modreske Fencing.

The turkey auction featured the grand champion meat pen of Anika Boeske, who sold her birds for $1,055.70 to Honor Credit Union. Morgan Dykstra's reserve champion meat pen went for $999 to Berens Livestock.

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