By Tom Collins
METCALFE — Isabelle Nadeau stood in the auction ring at the Metcalfe Fair on Sept. 29, showing off her lamb that was crowned 4-H regional champion earlier that day, wondering what was going on as the price kept rising.
“I was thinking, ‘Okay, it’s going to stop there, it’s going to stop now,’ ” said the 12-year-old Isabelle, who lives at Oxford Mills just outside of Kemptville. “But it just kept going and going.”
There was a charge of excitement in the crowd as the bids kept coming. Isabelle couldn’t help but show all her teeth in a huge smile, something auctioneer Erin James used to drive up the bidding. As the price hit $25, James, waving an arm to her right, shouted at Isabelle: “Keep smiling in that direction.”
The standing-room only crowd burst into applause at the end of the riveting five minutes of action as Isabelle’s lamb sold for a record $33 a pound to Jeremy and Heather Nixon at North Gower and Willy’s Electric at Nepean. That means the total for the 112 lb. lamb was $3,696. The duo have purchased the champion lamb for at least the past five years.
The price was much higher than what Isabelle was expecting. After that day’s lamb show, someone said the lamb might sell for as high as $25 a pound. Usually the champion lamb sells for $20 to $25 per pound, with some years reaching as high as $27 per pound.
This was the first time Isabelle showed a market lamb in her three years at the Metcalfe Fair. Her previous years, she showed breeding ewes. She plans to show another market lamb next year.
The reserve champion lamb, owned by Darren McCord in Carleton County, sold for $16.50 per pound. The average sale price for the 21 lambs — not including the champions — was $6.93 per pound.
The champion steer, owned by Darren McNeely in Carleton County, sold to James Auction Services for $4.25 per pound, costing more than $5,500 for the 1,310 lb. animal. The reserve champion steer, owned by Morgan MacIntrye in Carleton County, sold for a slightly-higher price of $4.50 per lb., selling for just more than $5,800 for the 1,445 lb. animal.
The average price for the 11 steers — not including the champions — was $3.09 per lb.
This year, the 4-H members donated two per cent of the selling price to the Dunrobin Tornado Relief Fund and CHEO.