News - Winning bid at Country Ham Auction raises $600,000 for charity
- August 26, 2011
The halls of the Kentucky Exposition Center’s South Wing B rang loud as the 48th Kentucky Country Ham Auction came to a close this morning, bringing in an impressive $600,000 for the state fair’s grand champion ham. The live auction highlighted Kentucky Farm Bureau’s annual breakfast before a crowd of 1,600.
Steve Trager, CEO of Republic Bank and Trust, offered up $600,000 for the 16.95-pound ham produced by Broadbent B&B Foods of Kuttawa, Kentucky. That is the equivalent of approximately $35,400 per pound of ham.
“We are fortunate enough to be able to commit to certain philanthropic goals, and Kentucky Farm Bureau provides this great forum to help us do it,” said Trager after the auction’s conclusion.
The auction appeared to be over after Republic Bank submitted a bid of $500,000, but when Trager requested an inspection of the prized ham it became obvious to him that it was worthy of the final $600,000 bid. The increase seemed to surprise everyone in the room, but fit well into the charitable giving plans of Republic Bank.
“This is a great event and Farm Bureau has done so many wonderful things that touch the lives of all Kentuckians,” said Trager. “Republic Bank has also had success in the local community and what better way to share that than at a charity auction like this?”
While the auction’s enormous bids draw great attention from even the casual passerby, a greater cause is served when the money raised is donated to the charity of the winning bidder’s choice. Republic Bank and Trust did not specify the recipients of its donation, but stated that the majority would go toward local healthcare and education.
While no goal is set for the ham’s top bid each year, Kentucky Farm Bureau has now helped raise more than $6.2 million for local charities, educational and philanthropic groups through the 48-year history of the auction.
“It’s an exciting event every year, and one that Kentucky Farm Bureau is extremely proud of,” said Jay McCants, Kentucky Farm Bureau’s commodity director and ham breakfast event coordinator. “I can’t think of a better way to start the day than to raise $600,000 for charity while finishing up breakfast.”
The auction’s humble beginnings – a respectable $124 winning bid at the first event in 1964 – have grown exponentially in recent years. The average price of the auctioned ham over the last 10 years is now $514,048.
To view video of the 2011 Kentucky Country Ham Auction, click here.