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Burlington teen takes home $47,000 as State Fair Steer Grand Champion

Posted at 10:16 PM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 23:16:33-04

Around 30 Wisconsin kids took home thousands of dollars Wednesday night at the state fair through the annual Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction. 

By the time Reid Runkel escorted his steer onto the stage in front of thousands, the 17-year-old already knew his black-hyded companion named Scoobie was the grand champion. 

“It’s been a lot of long mornings and late nights and I busted my butt for it,” he said. 

Scoobie took center stage at 1,325 lbs. and he’s only 18-months old. Runkel had his hands full getting him up to that weight on his family farm in Burlington. 

“Every morning, wake up at about 5:30, feed him obviously, put him in the wash rack, re-rinse him for about 35-45 minutes,” he said that’s just the beginning of 10-12 hour days. “You’ve got to give up everything.”  

Runkel said all that time together turned livestock into a pet. 

“He’s like my best friend, he really is,” Runkel said. “I spend more time with him sometimes than I do with my family.” 

A best friend that comes with a hard goodbye. However, there was one redeeming factor. Scoobie was the state fair’s prize steer up for auction.

As the numbers continued to climb, Runkel’s smile on stage only grew. The winning bid was $47,500. Meijer beef buyer Dave Neitzel said it isn’t so much about the animal, more so about the future of their business. 

“If we don’t have kids going into agribusiness to raise animals for us to sell, we’re in a world of hurt,” he said. 

Runkel, a high school senior at Burlington High School, plans to use the money to study agriculture in college. One day, he’d like to take over his family farm.