Lacie Coupe, 17, stood Saturday near the holding pen of her steer, excitedly talking with friends and relatives at the Moffat County Fair.
Coupe’s holding pen was in a special place, away from numerous others lining the livestock barn at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.
It was near the barn’s west entrance, decorated with purple cloth and lights. A sign hung from the bars indicating the steer inside, KW, was the fair grand champion in the market beef category.
“You put them in the grand champion pen, and you hope for buyers to come talk to you,” Coupe said.
KW, a 1,387-pound Maine-Angus cross, a steer bred for showing and market, made few sounds as a crowd of area residents filtered Saturday night into the barn to take their seats for the 4-H and FFA Junior Livestock Sale.
The livestock auction was one of the last events at the week-long fair, which featured numerous events like bull riding, roping, arts and craft competitions, livestock showmanship, and market showing competitions.
The auction featured grand and reserve champion cattle, pigs, goats and lambs, as well as champion chickens, turkeys and rabbits. Other FFA and 4-H members also entered their animals in the auction.
Totals from the livestock sale were not available as of press time Sunday, fair officials said.
It wasn’t Coupe’s first time winning the market beef category at the county fair. In 2006, she won the title with a brother of KW’s, she said.
Coupe used one word to describe how she was able to raise a grand champion for the second time — work.
“Every single morning, I get up at 5 a.m. and he gets a bath,” she said. “That’s how you grow hair. … It’s work, but I like getting up and doing it.
“It’s kind of like waking up to feed your dog, your best friend. That’s my big dog.”
KW was born in March last year at Coupe’s home in the countryside south of Craig.
“This boy is home-grown,” she said. “He’s out of our own herd.”
The year-and-a-half of work Coupe put into raising, feeding and taking care of KW was put to test in a three-hour competition Saturday, she said.
And she prepared for the livestock auction, she also prepared to part ways with KW — something she said is always hard.
“I think since he is a grand (champion) he did his job,” she said. “When I was little, it really hurt me, but I am old enough that I learned he did his job. He did what I wanted.”
KW sold for $4 per pound, or $5,548. Coupe said she planned to use the money from KW’s sale to buy a calf to show at next year’s Colorado State Fair.
Coupe wasn’t the only youth preparing to part ways with prized livestock, however.
Brady Martinez, 15, spent the last few hours before the sale washing and preparing his lamb. He has been showing and selling lambs for about six years, he said.
“Yeah, a lot of people have a hard time selling them,” he said.
But after six years of selling, Martinez said he is used to parting ways with animals.
As he put the final touches on his lamb, getting the dirt out of its’ coat, he said such last-minute details don’t make a sizeable difference in the auction.
Martinez contends it was the six months of properly raising and feeding his lamb that make the difference in the auction.
But, he was just hoping to get back what he put into the lamb in the auction, he said.
Makayla Goodnow, 16, who took reserve champion with her 6-month-old Boer cross goat, said, even though she has been selling livestock for a while, it is still hard.
“I am going to be sad when he is gone because I feel he has really good potential to do well at later shows,” she said.
However, Goodnow contends it is harder for some participants.
“I think it is really tough because you work all summer long just perfecting them,” she said. “You have to feed them, sheer them, train them everyday.”
But, the fair competition is “the goal point,” she said.
“This what you are raising them for,” she said. “You go and pick them out by yourself and you name them. It is really hard to part with them because you don’t realize how much you are going to miss them.”