TURLOCK -- An auction with a purpose. A young boy in Waterford has a new goal in mind; he wants to auction off his prized hog at the Stanislaus County Fair. But it's not just any auction, the young boy wants to donate the proceeds.
He says he will donate the money he gets to the family of Braden Varney.
Varney died while battling the Ferguson fire in Mariposa County.
Brennen Keeney has been raising his hog, Bubba, since January and as he gets ready to say goodbye to it on Saturday, he said a personal connection to firefighters and the military led him to want to try to help out the Varney family.
After taking 2nd place in his weight and breed class earlier this week, Bubba and his 14-year-old owner Brennen Keeney, who represents Waterford 4-H, have their sights set on something bigger at the auction on Saturday.
“I’m hoping for $10 a pound. I probably won’t get that, but I’m hoping,” stated Keeney.
The hope stems from Keeney’s desire to give all the money he earns through the auction to the family of Braden Varney, the Cal Fire heavy equipment operator who lost his life last week fighting the Ferguson fire in Mariposa County after his bulldozer overturned in a ravine. Varney leaves behind a wife and two kids.
“My stepdad, he was a volunteer firefighter, a while back, and my dad is now serving in the national guard. So, when I heard about that, it made me want to do something to help out. And it was kinda, not like perfect timing, but it was like right when I was selling my pig,” Keeney said.
Bubba last tipped the scales at 261 pounds, though Keeney believes he could be around 290 right now. But whatever haul Bubba brings in at auction, Keeney, who is only in his second year of raising pigs, just wants to help the Varney family cope with a pain he can relate to.
“I lost my grandpa a couple years ago because he used to serve in the military and so when I went through that, I know what the family went through. So, I just want to help out and make them feel better,” said Keeney.
As Keeney gets ready to say goodbye to Bubba, who he says has been stubborn since he got him in January when he was only 50-60 pounds, he knows the hog rocking number 53 on his back will be helping a great cause.
“It feels good to help the community. Even though I could use it, but it would be a better cause to help out the family, instead of using it for whatever I want to do,” Keeney expressed.
Bubba may have gotten 2nd place in show, but his owner is earning first place for selflessness.
The auction will be taking place Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. FOX40 reached out to Cal Fire, who has notified a family liaison about Keeney’s plans to give the money he raises to them.