COLUMBIA — Brooke Schnarre, 12, smiled broadly from the stage as an auctioneer called out bids on her Grand Champion ham.
Auction participants nodded and motioned to the auctioneer to raise the bid until he called out "Sold!"
Keith Schnarre, Brooke's grandfather, purchased the dry-cured ham for $900, and onlookers applauded. Schnarre, who had taught his granddaughter how to cure ham, gave her a hug after the auction.
Brooke said she did not expect her ham to sell for such a high price, and was happy her grandfather was the one to purchase it.
"I'm probably going to eat it now," she said with a smile.
Brooke's prize-winning ham was auctioned off with 35 other dry-cured hams as part of the 69th annual Boone County Fair Country Ham Breakfast and Auction on Saturday morning. The auction and breakfast are part of a long-standing curing tradition in Boone County.
Nearly 200 hams, which were lined up on display at the event, were judged earlier this week at the Boone County Fair. Hams were given a score out of 100 based on aroma, eye appeal, outside color, smoothness of skin, firmness, meatiness, fitting and trim.
Brooke's winning ham earned a score of 97.
Riley Hamilton, 10, who cured the fourth place ham, said learning how to preserve the meat was a fun six-month project. His father and 4-H leader taught him how to preserve ham properly and helped him throughout the process.
His ham was purchased by Nancy Cleveland for $275. Cleveland donated the ham to be resold for the 4-H council.
"It was interesting being up on stage," Riley said while holding a plaque and several ribbons he had won. "It was fun."
Supervising editor is Hannah Wiese.