"Good job," Gianna Ricci said, tucking her 255-pound hog into its pen at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Saturday morning.
The fair-skinned porker, sporting a mild sunburn, had brought in nearly $3,700 for Ricci, a veteran swine exhibitor at age 17 who said she's not in it for the money.
"I love showing animals," said Ricci, a member of the Live Oak 4-H Club of Petaluma and an incoming senior at Justin-Siena High School in Napa. "I'd do it for nothing."
Junior Livestock Auction
But on a cloudy and misty Saturday morning in the wood chip-covered swine auction ring, Ricci's hog, named Bam-Bam, was first on the selling block as the supreme champion, judged the best of the 276 swine involved in the fair's 2013 Junior Livestock Auction.
"God, this is so exciting," Dale Ricci, Gianna's father, said just before the bidding began.
"This is a good hog, right here," auctioneer Bruce Campbell told the prospective buyers, seated at long tables under a canopy.
Campbell started the bidding at $10 a pound, dropped down to $7.50, got his first bid at $5 and then coaxed it up to a winning price of $14.50 a pound — a bit more than twice the $7 a pound paid for last year's supreme champion hog.
The buyers of Ricci's hog were LaPrenda Vineyard Management, The Cliff House, Ricci Vineyards and Wilbur Ellis.
On Saturday, the 276 pigs fetched an average of $6.22 a pound for their 4-H and Future Farmers of America exhibitors, compared with the sales of 296 hogs for an average of $5.80 a pound at last year's auction.
A Yorkshire hog exhibited by Davis Crawford of the Forestville FFA sold for a record price of $35 a pound, costing the buyer, Team Ghilotti, $8,148.