(Valparaiso, IN) - A 300-pound hog in Porter County broke a record this week for its final selling price at the 4-H auction. The price it achieved was almost as impressive as the amount of love that went in to making it happen.
The portly piggy was the show animal of 10-year-old 4-H member Hudson Duttlinger of Wanatah.
As this year’s Reserve Grand Champion Gilt, the hog was no slouch, but it had a little something extra going for it: that’s the rest of the story.
Several years ago, Ashlee Duttlinger, Hudson’s mom, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Although it was in remission, the cancer recently returned with a vengeance. The 38-year-old wife and mother was able to sit ring-side when her son was awarded his ribbon, but she is now in hospice care.
Porter County’s 4-H community banded together in her honor. Jonathan and Anna Kraft, who run the annual livestock auction, are good friends of the Duttlinger family. Using GoFundMe, the Krafts organized a “bidding war” among online donors.
And on Thursday night, bids kept pouring in. According to auction organizers, 4-H swine normally sells for about $2.50 per pound on a good day. But Thursday was a great day. The price hit $100 per pound pretty quickly, then just kept going up. It wasn’t inflation, just a special kind of Hoosier hysteria.
“I got $100,” a cowboy-hatted auctioneer intoned, “$120…130…140…”
At $200 a pound, the cheering crowd rose to their feet. The frenzy continued.
“240…$250 a pound…and 260… now 70…”
At $280, the auctioneer had to pause. “I never thought an auctioneer could be at a loss for words, but this one is.”
And it didn’t stop there. More bids came in, and when the gavel dropped, Hudson Duttlinger’s hog, in honor of his mom, sold for $340 a pound. That’s $102,000 in total.
All the money will go into a scholarship fund for Ashlee’s two boys. Since the hog was purchased by over 100 different donors, the pork will be given to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana to help feed families in need.