Livestock Sale brings bittersweet feelings in Weld County Fair finale | TheFencePost.com

Livestock Sale brings bittersweet feelings in Weld County Fair finale

Samantha Fox

The mixed emotions were easily found between smiles and puffy red eyes. It was a bittersweet day Aug. 1 at the Junior Livestock Sale, the final event of the 2016 Weld County Fair. The auction was really the day 4-H kids prepared for when they got their animals, but it was one that came at a price.

For some, that price was saying farewell to part of the family. Alyssa DePorter, 18, was the first 4-H kid to walk into the auction circle. Family surrounded her, as she walked her steer, named Touch Down, around the ring for a final time. Her family held up the accolades Touch Down earned at the Weld County Fair — among them a purple grand champion banner.

The bidding started with a couple reminders from the auctioneer it was the grand champion up for grabs.

"Sold, for $9,500."

PDC Energy was the first buyer, and the Eaton girl was happy about it — to an extent.

"There's excitement before and after," she said. "It's going to be hard. I love Touch Down. He's my baby."

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Then she paused. The tears were about to come out of her eyes, but that's because Touch Down is family. DePorter said she loves being in 4-H and working with the animals, but it's still hard.

The kids know their goal is to sell the animals — if not at the Weld County Fair, then at the state fair. It still makes selling them a mix of emotions. The ability to work with an animal and do well is a proud moment.

"I feel like I've accomplished something, and I'm proud to be in 4-H," said Libby Schelich, 12.

Libby, of Eaton, got $2,100 between her two turkeys, named Handsome Man and Chicken Little. Handsome Man wore a striped pink tie, so it was easier to tell the two males apart. Libby got $1,100 from Anadarko for Chicken Little, her grand champion. Handsome Man took reserve and sold for $100 less.

First-year 4-Her Cade Simpson, 8, of Ault, got $6,750 for his grand champion pig, Porkchop. Cade said the last week was crazy, but Porkchop did well.

Cade said the timing of the swine show Saturday helped Porkchop. The pig gets crabby in the morning because he doesn't like waking up, so the pair did just fine in Saturday's show.

The reality that he sold Porkchop didn't set in for Cade, but the lesson from the sale is one his mom said is important.

"They've got to understand the food cycle," Marinda Simpson said.

The sale also was a chance to learn how the economy can work.

For the kids who have sold at the county fair before, there has been a decline in prices in recent years.

"The gas and oil industry is a big contributer," Carrie Huenink, treasurer for the sale committee said. "The ranchers and farmers aren't doing as well as they had been, either."

The price for DePorter's steer was well under the $14,000 for last year's champion. But that was to be expected.

Families decide where the money from the market will go, but a common theme is college.

Grant Vickland, 18, of Longmont is one who will use his money toward college. He will attend Iowa State in the fall and plans to study fire science on his way to becoming a firefighter.

He said he still plans on keeping livestock, but farming won't be a main source of income. His steer brought in $4,600, and he said his reserve finish and market total means a lot, especially in Weld.

"It feels great winning this one," Vickland said. "It's one of the hardest fairs in the country." ❖

Top dollar

Animal category / Shown by / Champion placement / Purchaser / Price

Beef / Alyssa DePorter / Grand champion / PDC Energy, Inc. / $9,500

Grant Vickland / Reserve / Bill Barrett Corporation / $4,600

Turkey / Libby Schelich / Grand champion / Anadarko Petroleum / $1,100

Reserve / J9 Crop Insurance / $1,000

Swine / Cade Simpson / Grand champion / Anadarko Petroleum / $6,750

Rayna Hodgson / Reserve / PDC Energy, Inc. / $4,000

Rabbit / Mathew Boyce Cushman / Grand champion / DePorter family / $1,000

Dakota Morgan / Reserve / Select Energy Services / $600

Goat / Rylee Anderson / Grand champion / Double J Meat Packing/Double J Lamb & Farmers Bank of Ault / $4,000

Karsyn Fetzer / Reserve / PDC Energy, Inc. / $5,800

Chicken / Carson Zacharias / Grand Champion / R & R Farms LLC. and Campbell Chiropractic P.C. / $2,100

Callie Zacharias / Reserve / Double J Meat Packing/Double J Lamb / $1,250

Lamb / Jenna Frink / Grand champion / Double J Meat Packing/Double J Lamb & Mountain States Rosen Lamb / $6,500

Cal Sidwell / Reserve / Bonanza Creek / $5,750

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