Top-quality animals bring in big money at the NWSS livestock auction
DENVER — With only 96 slots available to sell market animals at the National Western Stock Show Junior Livestock Auction, it’s incredibly hard to qualify.
That means it’s even harder to raise two animals that qualify for the auction, but Mikala Grady did just that. She raised the reserve hog and steer. The 15-year-old traveled from Grandview, Texas, to show at the National Western.
“It’s one of the most prestigious livestock shows, so why would you not go to it,” Grady said.
Grady’s reserve champion steer went for $107,500 and her hog went for $38,000. The grand champion steer, shown by Lillie Skiles from Dalhart, Texas, sold for a record-breaking $135,000 at the auction, which took place Jan. 20 at the National Western Complex.
Grady’s plan is to use the funds to pay for college. Her goal is to attend Texas A&M. She wants to study veterinary medicine because animals are her life.
That’s why saying goodbye to her animals was hard for her. While it’s an investment in her future and she knows the goal is to make market, it’s hard to part with the animals she’s worked with for months.
“I’m excited, but I had to say goodbye,” she said.
But being able to qualify for the sale also helps some of the kids continue competing, and it helps them look to the future.
On the bidder’s end, investing in the youth in agriculture is why they continue to go to the National Western Auction and bid.
“The auction is special because these people work so hard to raise these animals,” said Pete Coors, Chairman of Coors Brewing Co. and 2004 Republican candidate for one of Colorado’s U.S. Senate seats.
Skiles’ top steer went to Kent Stevinson, president of Stevinson Automotive. There’s a lot of prestige that comes with getting the top bid at National Western, but Stevinson recognizes the importance that really comes with being a purchaser at the stock show.
“It’s a great honor to be able to help these kids out,” he said. “To feed the world, the population is going to double, so we need to invest in agriculture now.”
Anadarko Petroleum, a company that has been active in county and state fairs, made its own purchase. This one is a little personal as Connor Meining, facilities engineer for Anadarko used to show animals in the Weld County Fair.
“It’s great because I get to be on the other side now,” he said. My success (showing) prepared me for college.” ❖
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