Hayden The sale barn rang out with the calls of the auctioneer, who was competing with the squeals of the 252-pound grand champion market swine. "Bud" had just been sold to Bear River Valley Co-op for $1,000 and he might have sensed his time was near.
But for Bud's owner, Hayden Middle School student Ryan Bell, the end of the Routt County Junior Livestock Sale meant money for his savings account.
"The money will go towards college, if I go," said the 13-year-old.
Bell said not having Bud around anymore won't be too hard on him.
"I'm not always with the pigs, so I don't get as attached to them, like you do a dog," he explained. "Pigs are really mellow and easy to handle, though, not like steer."
But 18-year-old Jessie Booco wouldn't have it any other way. For the second year in a row, she raised the grand champion market steer, which Craig Ford bought for $5,000 at Saturday's auction.
"This is the last time I can do this, so I hope I don't start crying," she said before the event. Booco leaves Wednesday to study animal science at the University of Wyoming.
The Junior Livestock Sale featured more than 25 market beef entries, 30 lamb, 28 swine and a handful of rabbits and turkeys. It raised a total of $134,000 the most ever, said C.J. Mucklow, director of the Routt County Extension Office.
"We also had the highest-ever averages," Mucklow said.
The average steer price was $2,150, compared to last year's average of $1,690. The average lamb price this year was $830, compared to $661 in 1998. The average hog price was $1,150, compared to $830 last year.
Two scholarship animals were auctioned off Saturday. The Future Farmers of America raised $600 with a 255-pound pig bought by Russell's Auto Salon and Sunshine Mountain Towing. Mountain Meats and Yampa Valley Beef purchased the 4-H Club's steer for $2,000. Those monies will go back into the clubs.
Routt County resident Alan White was at the sale to bid on a lamb.
"It's a good cause and a way to support the kids," White said.
Steamboat Springs resident Fran Werner said she and her children were in 4-H.
"It's all about neighbors supporting neighbors," she said. "These kids have worked very hard and we want to be here supporting them."
Many of the people and organizations who buy animals at the sale don't plan to use the meat themselves. They have the option of selling the animal back at market price, with the difference used as a donation for the young ranchers.
Janey Montieth, who raised the reserve grand champion steer, knows the importance of generous contributions.
"I'd like to thank of all you who support us," she said. "Without you, there would be no fair for us."
Fair Junior Livestock Sale Champions
CATEGORY: EXHIBITOR; BUYER; PRICE
Steer Grand Champion: Jessie Booco; Craig Ford; $5,000
Steer Reserve Champion: Janey Montieth; Steamboat Safeway; $3,000
Swine Grand Champion: Ryan Bell; Bear River Valley Co-op; $1,000
Swine Reserve Champion: Keith Bell; Cook Chevrolet; $950
Lamb Grand Champion: Whittier Gates; Ore House; $1,150
Lamb Reserve Grand: Tommy Rossi; Weston Oil; $1,500
Goat Grand Champion: Annie Yager; Bear River Valley Co-op; $150
Goat Reserve Champion: Annie Yager; CSU Extension/4-H; $175
Rabbit Grand Champion: Chrissy Wilhelm; Family Barber Shop; $150
Rabbit Reserve Champion: Chrissy Wilhelm; Janet Selbe; $75
Poultry Grand Champion: Randall Muhme; $400
Poultry Reserve Champion: Amber Muhme; $175
Outstanding 1999 County Fair exhibitors
Beef Tommy Rossi
Sheep Tommy Rossi
Swine Chad Rolando
Small Animal Chrissy Wilhelm
Horse Carrie DeGenhal
Winner of the $1,000 scholarship from Twentymile Coal Co: Shari Yeager.