SPRINGFIELD, lll. — At the Governor’s Sale of Illinois State Fair Champions Aug. 13, the facility attracted attention along with the livestock. The newly refurbished Coliseum showcased the competition for the first time since it was condemned in 2016.
“Our theme for the fair this year is ‘building for the future,’” John Sullivan, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director, said on Ag Day at the fair.
The annual grand champion sales event is a highlight of Ag Day, with the grand champion exhibitors and the reserve grand champions receiving a portion of the proceeds from the sale of their animals.
“These exhibitors are the future of agriculture in our state and the represent the best of the best,” said Sullivan. “The Sale of Champions is the highlight of the Illinois State Fair and to be able to bring it back inside of the Coliseum is phenomenal.”
Each of the 10 grand champion exhibitors receives a $5,000 scholarship from the CME Group, and Reserve Grand Champions receive $1,000 each.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker ended up in a bidding war for the Grand Champion Steer with his wife, M.K. She drove up the price and made the winning bid for the grand champion steer of $75,000. The champion was owned by Cole Caldwell of Peoria County.
The Grand champion barrow, exhibited by Claire Bobell of Logan County, was bought by the CME Group for $25,000.