Injured child’s pig sells for $50,000 at Colorado county fair
for The Fence Post
Twelve-year-old Gage Adam wasn’t about to let a terrible accident this spring stop him from showing his pig at the Delta County Fair, held last weekend in Hotchkiss, Colo.
Gage had been recovering at Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colo., for about two months following a June 2 accident in which a metal rod went 3 inches into his head, said Nate Adam, Gage’s dad. Although his doctors said he probably wouldn’t be able to go home until about Aug. 20, Gage didn’t like the sound of that. “Gage set the goal for himself, he was going to make it home in time for fair,” Nate said. “And he did.”
Gage showed the pig at the fair with the help of his mom, as he’s still recovering. Then, a few days later at the junior market livestock sale Aug. 8, Gage’s pig sold for $14,000, in a sale where the average pig went for about $2,000, said Gary Peebles, chairman of the sale. But that’s not the end of the story.
After the sale ended, something amazing happened. For the next 10 or 15 minutes buyers added to the sale price. “People just started lifting their buyer’s numbers up,” Peebles said. “I’ll put $500. I’ll put a thousand. I’ll put another five hundred.”
When it was over, Gage’s 230 pound pig brought in $50,000, all of which will go to the family. “There wasn’t hardly any dry eyes in the crowd,” he said.
When Gage was injured, he was playing in the backyard of his Crawford, Colo., home with his youngest brother, Thyane, Nate, their dad said. They found some little metal rods. “They were seeing who could throw the furthest,” he said.
When Gage walked to retrieve a rod, tragedy struck. One of the rods, apparently thrown straight up in the air, came down and went 3 inches into his head, Nate said. The area it went into controls motor skills on the left side.
Gage was flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colo., where he had emergency surgery, and then transferred to Children’s Hospital. On his second night there he had a small stroke. “He lost peripheral vision on the left side of both eyes,” he said.
Thanks to help from back home, Nate and his wife Kim were able to stay the whole time with Gage at Children’s Hospital, which is about five hours from Crawford. Their other two boys, Dal and Thyane, stayed with their grandparents on both sides of the family. Members of the community stepped up to take care of the family’s cattle operation. “Everybody helped either irrigate or put up hay, we had people helping ride to take care of cows for us,” he said. “They’ve been raising money left and right to help us with all the bills. It’s been amazing, it really has.”
Gage’s recovery is going extremely well. After a lot of hard work in physical therapy, he can walk, and although he does still have left side weakness that’s continuing to improve. Before he left the hospital, doctors gave him an aptitude and IQ test. “He is at or above where he should be for a 12-year-old boy,” Nate said.
Right now Gage has to wear a helmet to protect his skull, which is missing a piece because of an emergency craniectomy, a surgery to relieve pressure on the brain. Next up, he goes back to Children’s Hospital to have surgery to have that fixed. Doctors said there was no reason to keep Gage at the hospital right up to the surgery, however, in fact it could end up being detrimental to his recovery. So they released him just in time for the fair.
Nate, who agreed to tell the story in order to “brag on our community,” said the way so many have rallied around his family has been the most humbling experience of his life. And what happened at the livestock sale was just incredible. “I don’t know if there’s words,” he said, adding that his son Dal’s pig sold for $6,700. “It was a tremendous sale all the way around.”
4H MAKEs THE BEST BETTER
What happened at the Delta County Fair shows the value of 4H in a time when some don’t think it’s important, said Jackie Shea, 4H extension agent and STEM educator. The organization teaches participants about the agricultural lifestyle and how important it is, plus a strong work ethic and giving back to the community through community service. “It just teaches our kids so many things on so many different levels,” she said.
Before the sale started, 4Hers at the fair worked to help the Adam family in a variety of ways. When Gage showed his pig, 4Hers were there to help him outside the ring, she said. And every morning livestock was at the fair, there was a 4H breakfast, with the 4H Council donating the food and all the proceeds going to Gage’s family.
On the day of the sale, it wasn’t just adults that donated money to the sale of Gage’s pig. Some 4Hers gave up a portion of the proceeds of the sale of their animals. “4Hers were coming up to the window and saying, we want to add 200 or we want to add on 400,” she said, continuing on to say that’s not something you see very often. “That’s why I can say I’m so proud to be part of an organization like this, that we are instilling those values in our 4H kids.” ❖
— Jessen is a freelance writer living in Minnesota with her nurse husband and daughter. They recently settled down after more than three years living a travel lifestyle, thanks to her husband’s travel nurse job. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.