Two years ago, the State Fair 4-H Sale of Champions was replaced by the Celebration of Champions which honored 4-H champion exhibitors without an auction of the livestock. Since the Coliseum was undergoing renovation last year, the celebration was held in the Youth Arena. This year, the event moved to the new Coliseum for the first time. Fair Board President Steve Simmerman was pleased with the way things turned out, “We knew the kind of production we wanted to put on, but just could not do it last year. This year we could do the full blown affair since we had the Coliseum. We really wanted to blow the roof off, and I think we did.”
Each exhibitor was presented their banner and check on stage by Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann. Simmerman said the pomp and pageantry of the event was just what the exhibitors and their families wanted, “I had several families of exhibitors come up to me and say, ‘This is just what we wanted.'” He added, that when the auction format was scrapped, there was concern about what would happen. He said meetings were held around the state to get input and the new format addressed many of the concerns and suggestions expressed at those meetings.
Jared Templin, Champion Dairy Steer winner from Kosciusko County said the experience was amazing, “It is an honor to be here, and memories are outstanding. The experience was amazing.” Many of those honored at the Saturday afternoon celebration expressed delight in having the Champion Drive back in the Coliseum. During the celebration, the Grand and Reserve champion winners got to parade their animals across the Coliseum floor to the applause of the large crowd in attendance. Simmerman said next year they hope to move the celebration event closer to the Grand Drive.