SIDNEY – Thousands of dollars will go to the Shelby County Fair’s project scholarship fund in memory of brothers Dalton Shank and Landin Caudill, who died June 2 as a result of a fire.
Dalton, 14, and Landin, 10, both raised rabbits as members of the Scissors to Sheep 4-H Club. They planned to show their rabbits at this year’s Shelby County Fair but died while vacationing with family members in Michigan.
In their memory, fellow 4-H members raised and showed their rabbits at the fair and community members donated money to a scholarship fund that will help Shelby County youth purchase project animals for the fair.
When the market rabbit sale began on Friday, a total of $4,865 already had been collected for the scholarship fund with that number continuing to increase.
“Definitely amazing,” Heidi Caudill, the mother of Dalton and Landin, said. “This is what 4-H is about.”
Caudill wasn’t surprised by the outpouring of support in her sons’ memory as it was just the latest gesture of the community’s generosity.
“With all the community and all the help that we’ve had and with the 4-H community and family, I knew and expected that it was going to be great,” she said.
Katelynn Garber, the daughter of Eric and Michelle Garber, and Carter Ingle, the son of Neil and Nicki Ingle, volunteered to raise and show Dalton’s and Landin’s rabbits.
“It was such a fantastic opportunity,” Katelynn, a member of Starting Farmers 4-H Club, said. “Those kids, they used to go to my school, and Dalton would pass me in the hallway and just say hi and ask if I was excited to raise rabbits.
“It’s just hard to think that’s he’s not going to be able to do that one final time.”
Carter was a member of Scissors to Sheep 4-H Club with both brothers and a classmate of Dalton at Hardin-Houston Local Schools.
“I was lucky enough to be one of his friends,” Carter said. “And so after I found out that he passed away I volunteered to show his rabbits at the fair.
“I was proud (to show his rabbits). I was happy … sad that I had to and he couldn’t.”
Caudill was appreciative that Dalton’s and Landin’s fellow 4-H members stepped up to keep the memory of her sons alive during the week of the fair.
“Very heartwarming,” she said. “It just proves that my children were loved.”
The Shelby County Fair will continue to collect donations for the scholarship fund in memory of Dalton and Landin. People will be able to donate at Saturday’s auction that begins at 10 a.m.
In another moment of community members stepping up to support a local family, Eliza Fullenkamp from Fort Loramie Livestock 4-H Club sold her rabbits for $1,700 during Friday’s auction. Her father, John, died last year when a woman drove into the back of an agricultural sprayer he was pulling with a tractor on State Route 29.
Also during the rabbit auction, Austin Pleiman from Fort Loramie FFA sold his grand champion meat pen rabbits for $1,250 and his grand champion single fryer rabbit for $775.
Jake Siegel from Fort Loramie Livestock sold his reserve champion meat pen rabbits for $525 while Jenna Batton of Successful 4-H Club sold her reserve champion single fryer for $800.
In the market hog auction, Hunter Lenhart of Progressive Livestock 4-H Club sold his grand champion gilt for a Shelby County Fair record $15,625, breaking the record of $10,100 that was set in 2015.
“I never expected it,” Hunter said. “I just started one day when we found a pig in my flowerbed.”
Hunter said he’s not sure where the eventual grand champion pig came from or how it ended up in his flowerbed.
“It just somehow got there one day, and we started feeding it more and kept feeding more and now we’re here,” the 14 year old said. “I just call it a blessing.”
Having raised eight champion hogs in the past five years, the son of Aaron and Holly Lenhart said he plans to continue raising hogs but will stop competing at the Shelby County Fair.
“It was a pretty good way to end it for me and just an honor to go down as the record setter,” he said. “I think it’s time to just a take a step off, maybe go to state fairs and stuff and let some other people win this.”
Also during the hog auction, Wyatt Howell from Anna Livestock sold his grand champion barrow for $2,275, Evan Argabright of Anna FFA sold his reserve champion barrow for $3,500, and Makenna Snider of Fort Loramie Livestock sold her reserve champion gilt for $3,610.
The auctions will continue at 10 a.m. Saturday with the sale of chickens, cattle, goats, turkeys, lambs, ducks and gallons of milk.
The buyers of each animal will be included in Tuesday’s edition of the Sidney Daily News.
Reach this writer at email@example.com or 937-538-4824.