When the gavel dropped and the auctioneer announced “Sold!”, the look on Alyssa DePorter’s face depicted the whole tone of the Weld County Fair: excitement. The fair was held at the Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley, Colo., July 25-30.
The fair this year was a record year in nearly all categories, including entries and the junior livestock sale. DePorter’s 1,300 pound Grand Champion steer sold for $17,000, beating the old record by $2,000. The purchaser of the steer was Gary Dahlgren, who owns Gray Fox RV in Loveland, Colo. Dahlgren is a former Weld County 4-H member, and he grew up in Ault, Colo.
“The junior livestock sale went extremely well. We had record high prices, and for all 245 lots the prices held, and there was a lot of community support,” said Keith Maxey, County Director and Livestock Agent for Weld County.
The livestock sale brought in a record total of $615,000 on 245 animals sold, including add-ons. Last year the sale brought in $525,000, on 240 head.
The other champion animals also brought in large checks. The champion swine, exhibited by Austin Reitzenstein, sold for $3,300 to EnCana Oil and Gas. Tanner Fetzer’s champion goat sold for $3,750 to G&M Equipment, and Shannon Kos’s champion rabbits sold for $2,300 to Fort Lupton Buyer’s Club. The grand champion turkey, exhibited by Bryce Endreson, sold for $800 to Agfinity, and Julie Hickman’s champion chickens sold for $1,500 to Anadarko Petroleum Company. The champion lamb, exhibited by Kayla Frink, sold for $3,500 to J-9 Crop Insurance, Simpson Brothers Livestock, Agfinity, Double J Farms and Feeding and Double J Meat Packing.
Frink, who is 15, has been raising sheep her entire life and raised the lambs that she showed at fair this year.
The 152 pound lamb she showed, named I’ll Have Another, allowed Frink to finally have the Grand Champion Lamb she had worked so hard to have. She has had two reserves in the past years, and this year was finally able to win it all.
“Since I had two reserves that was good, but winning grand was better. All the hard work finally paid off,” said Frink, who is from Eaton, Colo.
She continued, “We thought he looked pretty good when we sheared him, but we didn’t know what to think or if he could win.”
In order to get her animals in grand champion fashion, Frink works with them every day. “It takes a lot to have a champion. You put in a lot of hard work and it took a lot to get the sheep looking how I wanted. I had to work him every day, feed him and make sure he was on the right program,” she said.
Frink knows what she is doing. She also had the Grand Champion at last year’s Colorado State Fair, and had the Reserve Champion Breeding Sheep at this year’s county fair.
The Frink sisters, Kayla’s twin Jenna and her younger sister Lauren, showed three lambs a piece at the fair. Jenna won two of her classes, and Lauren had the champion Suffolk during the Breeding Sheep Show. The Frink’s are members of the Wyatt 4-H Club.
The family owns 60 ewes that they lamb out each year, and the sisters pick the lambs they want to show. In addition to county fair, they also show at State Fair, Ak-Sar-Ben and National Western Stock Show.
The livestock shows allow 4-H and FFA members to showcase their animal projects, as well as compete in market and breeding classes. This year the fair offered market shows for goats, hogs, cattle, sheep, rabbits and poultry. Other livestock shows included dairy goat and dairy cattle, bucket calves and pigeons.
The fair hosts a multitude of events in addition to the livestock shows, including the second annual Fiddle Fest, as well as a community barbeque. “Our Sunday family day with the free barbeque served around 2,500 people,” said Maxey.
Sunday afternoon, the awards were handed out to the 4-H and FFA members for their work during the fair. The champion in the senior all-around large animal showmanship competition ended in a tie this year between Jaylinn Lohr and Kyndal Reitzenstein. The grand and reserve grand champions in each species, including swine, sheep, beef, goat, dairy and horse shows, all competed.
In the senior small animal category, Hannah Bott was named the grand champion, and Jennifer Herren was the reserve grand champion.
In the intermediate large animal category, Caitlynn Ochsner was the champion, followed by reserve champion Cody Huwa. In the intermediate small animal showmanship contest, Colton Morelock was the grand champion, and Jack Patton the reserve grand champion.
The premier exhibitor award is also a big accomplishment for these youth. Jenna Frink was the premier exhibitor in sheep, Courtney Kline was the premier exhibitor for hogs, Megan Seltzer was the premier exhibitor for goats, and Ashlyn Ochsner was the premier exhibitor for beef.
This year, for the first time, members also competed for premier exhibitor awards in the small animals. Elizabeth Edie was the premier exhibitor for rabbits, Jeremy Segelke was the winner for poultry and Charolette Anderson for dogs. The premier exhibitor award in the combined General Natural, Family Consumer Science and County Project category was awarded to Katelynn Seelhoff.
In the herdsmanship contest, the Frink family won the sheep contest, the Ochsner family won the beef contest, the Seltzer family won the goat division, and Landree Heidenreich was the swine herdsmanship winner.
To become the premier exhibitor, the students compile points in market and breeding shows depending on their placing, as well as in showmanship and herdsmanship contests. They also take a written test, and are awarded points based on their score. The highest score wins scholarships and trophies.
All together the fair had roughly 7,800 entries total, up from 7,500 last year. Other entries included crop production, fine arts and crafts, shooting sports, carpentry, sewing, baking and more. The biggest increase in entries was seen in the hog and rabbit shows, and the poultry show doubled compared to last year, according to Janet Kunkel, Weld County Fair Coordinator.
“It was a tremendous fair. It was a very successful year that we had,” said Maxey. ❖
“It takes a lot to have a champion. You put in a lot of hard work and it took a lot to get the sheep looking how I wanted. I had to work him every day, feed him and make sure he was on the right program.”
~ Kayla Frink