COLUMBIA — Gentry Duncan, 9, stood on stage holding his cured ham as the annual Boone County Fair Ham Sale began Saturday morning.
As the bids grew higher, Gentry began to slump under the weight of the heavy ham.
Gentry, who has been curing ham for two years, won the cured ham contest at the fair on Monday, earning a score of 96 out of a possible 100.
His ham was the first of 40 to be auctioned Saturday and was purchased for $850 by Chuck Basye, who is running in the Republican primary for the 47th District of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Basye used personal funds to buy the ham, he said, and after taking pictures with Gentry, donated it to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.
Although he had never cured hams before, Basye, who owns a farm in Rocheport, said he knew the process was an endeavor.
"I know they put an awful lot of work into it," Basye said.
The second-place ham, cured by Emma Thompson, sold for $500 to Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia.
The 16th-ranked ham, cured by Ryan Rounsavall, sold for $550 to State Rep. John Wright, D-Rocheport.
Wright said buying cured hams from the Boone County Fair has been a family tradition for some time, starting with his grandfather. He said he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.
"I love to support the hams," Wright said. "One ham will last you a good couple of months."
Supervising editor is Joe Guszkowski.