Cattle, goats, pigs, lambs, poultry and rabbits were all sold to market during a packed auction at the Montezuma County Fair on Saturday.
The Junior Livestock Sale featured more than 100 animals that have been raised by local 4-H youths.
“They almost all sell for more than market value,” said livestock sales clerk Cindy Lichliter. “For the buyers, it’s away to give back to the community. The kids learn a lot, plus earn some money.”
Cy Lanier, 10, raised a Black Angus cross named Ratchey at the family farm in Pleasant View. He sold the steer for $2,800 at the auction to Ken Perry of First National Bank.
“He’s a gentle steer, and I trained him enough so I could sit on him,” Lanier says proudly. “Ratchey eats 20 pounds of grain per day, plus 10 pounds of hay. It was tough work raising him and fun.”
This is the fourth auction for Trinity Samora, 12, who was preparing to sell her Suffolk lamb.
“I’ve been raising it for seven months, doing a lot of walking, shearing and feeding. It was pretty easy, and I’m raising money for college,” she said.
Many of the local 4-H youths at the auction have already made raising their own livestock a successful business.
Hunter Garlinghouse, 17, has been raising and selling goats for 10 years from her family farm in Lewis.
“I’ve been successful, and I get a lot of support from my parents. Some years are good, others are not so good,” she said of the goat market. “They are amazing animals, really adorable with a lot of personality. I kind of get attached to them.”
The junior livestock auction perfectly embodies the rural value that hard work and dedication pays off.
Vincent Conklin, 15, of Lewis-Arriola, knows this value well. His Grand Champion market swine sold for $2,400 to buyer Keesee Motors.
“It’s a lot of responsibility to raise them,” he says. “After school and practice, you come home and still have to go take care of them, but it’s worth it when they sell.”
The auction is a highlight of the fair, which overall has gone well, said Tom Hooten, ag extension agent for Montezuma County.
The music festival this year brought in more people, as did the new tractor pull and fair royalty events. There were more vendors, and contests such the salsa competition and cake decorating get more popular every year.
“I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback that this fair is one of the best ever,” Hooten says. “The fair board should be commended for putting on the best fair on the Western Slope with limited resources. It’s a supreme achievement.”