The Grand Champion pie, Apple Cider Pie with a Hint of Pear and its companion pie, made by Sedalian Cheryl Lange, brought $4,000 each in the 12th annual Central Missouri Agriculture Club Pie Auction hosted Saturday night at the Pork Place on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
The total for the pie auction exceeded last year’s total of $30,000, bringing in $31,450 that will benefit local youth in agriculture.
Ag Club Pie Auction and Banquet Coordinator Janice Klenke said they had 26 entries, of two pies each, this year giving them 52 pies to auction off at the Ag Appreciation Dinner. Pies were auctioned off by John Dick of Dick’s Auction Service with about 300 people attending the event.
As Dick began the bidding for the champion pie, Lange walked her pie around for bidders to see. A friendly bidding “war” began for the pie between Barbara Hayden of Starline Brass and Robbie Toops of BASF, an agricultural chemical company. Toops spoke up and said if Starline would purchase the whole pie Lange was holding, he would purchase its companion pie that was used for judging. They agreed, bringing the total for both pies to $8,000.
Lange said she entered last year for the first time, and her cheesecake and coconut cream pie raised approximately $1,600. She decided to try again this year, but she was totally surprised she received grand champion.
“I could still cry at this moment,” she said before the auction. “It still feels like a dream. Like it hasn’t come true because I just couldn’t believe it.”
Lange said she bakes often for family dinners and holiday events.
“Anytime we have something, I usually make desserts to take,” Lange added. “I just like to bake.”
This year she came up with the idea for the champion pie by finding a recipe and changing it to fit her own style.
“I found a recipe and I tweaked it to be something different, something a little more exotic,” she said.
Lange said she planned to enter again next year.
“I have a lot to live up to,” she added laughing. “It’s a really good cause, what this goes for. That was one of my main reasons for entering. Because last year when I entered and noticed how much all my pies went for and what I raised, I was like ‘wow that’s going to help a lot of kids out.’”
During the pie auction that evening, Lange was near tears when she realized her apple pies were going to bring $8,000.
“Here have a seat,” Auctioneer Dick said to her.
Lange sat down with her pie looking dazed as they waited for the bidders to make their decision. Afterward she had her photo made with winning bidders Hayden and Toops.
Klenke said the annual pie contest is sponsored by Bing’s Grocery Stores, East and West. The pies are judged in four categories: double crust, meringue, mixed medium and youth. The four first-place winners are then judged and a grand champion is selected by a scoring system.
Although the club had less pies in the contest this year, more money was raised during the auction in part due to Lange’s entries. Lange’s other pie, German Chocolate Pie, took second place and raised $600, but all the pies fared well.
Second place winner Very Berry Apple Pie, made by Connie Soendker, was purchased for $400, a double crust peach pie made by Kevin Daniel raised $750 and pie entry No. 33 took in $1,400. A pie made by Maxine Griggs sold for $450 and Faye Hunton’s first place pie, Coconut Pineapple Meringue, brought in $1,000. First place winner, a German chocolate pie belonging to Megan White, brought in $500 while in the youth division, first place pie Red Berry Custard made by Kaelyn Teague raised $400.
“We raise money to give scholarships to kids going to school to study agriculture,” Klenke said of the funds raised. “We give money to the 4-H to rent the fairgrounds for their achievement days. It also pays their insurance and it pays for their judges.”
The funds raised also help the club to take children to Cole Camp Old Settlers Days in the fall. Last year they took 515 children to the event.
“We appreciate everyone who wants to enter and bring pies,” Klenke added. “We put whatever we raise to good use.”
Also during the Ag Appreciation Dinner cowboy poet Doug Kiburz spoke to the group and presented two of his original poems. Ag Club Secretary and Pettis County 4-H Youth Specialist Kay Sparks introduced the 2015 Pettis County Farm Family, Justin and Elizabeth Berry, of Green Ridge. The family, who has a 1,500-acre farm with cattle, row crops, sheep and poultry, received a plaque. University of Missouri Ag Specialist Brent Carpenter also introduced and recognized the 10 Pettis County Century Farm families.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.