Junior livestock auction celebrates hard work of 4-H members
When Robyn Halley led her grand champion steer into the auction ring on Friday evening, tears glistened in her eyes.
Halley, 19, wasn’t welling up because she was parting with an animal she had raised for nine months, she knows full well the process of raising livestock, but because this was her last year in the 4-H program she grew up in before heading to the University of Wyoming.
“It’s what I’ve been raised around and it’s taught me and made me who I am today,” Halley, from Kremmling, said. “I can’t explain it in enough words what this program and this county’s 4-H means to me.”
Her 1,285 pound cow sold for $11 per pound, the highest amount of any of the cattle sold.
Overall, the junior livestock auction, which took place at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Middle Park Fair Grounds, sold 14 cattle, 17 sheep, 14 goats, dozens of pigs, as well as bunnies, ducks, turkeys and chickens. The proceeds of the sales are a reward for a job well done for 4-H members and can help offset the cost of participating.
“Honestly, I think coming out in the end, when you’ve worked so hard this whole year, and all of a sudden you get here and sell your animal and show off your animal, even if you don’t win anything, it’s so cool,” said Grace Johnson, the Middle Park Fair and Rodeo Queen of 2018 and a 4-H member who raised sheep. “My money from 4-H helped me buy a car, I’ve started saving for college.”
Buyers at the auction are also given the opportunity to resell the animals to raise money for charity. This year, several animals were resold with profits going to local charities like the 4-H scholarship program and Cliffview Assisted Living, as well as national ones like Project Sanctuary.
But for the kids participating it’s not really about the money. Halley, who has spent 14 years in 4-H, said her program was not only her family, but also what lead her to find her passion for animals and providing for her community.
“My ultimate goal, once I get out of debt, is to own my own ranch and to farm and raise show animals and give back to this 4-H community,” she said. “This has been such an important part of my life and I love this.”
Sydney Ritschard, from Kremmling, said her 12 years in the 4-H program also taught her a lot about the agriculture industry and encouraged her to know more about the food she eats.
“It’s taught me responsibility and how important it is to know what we’re eating, what we’re bringing up and the producers side of the industry,” Ritschard said.
This year Ritschard, 18, raised pigs and steer. She plans to take what she learned to Colorado State University to study business administration. And while this is an end to her time in the program and all the time she’s dedicated to her animals, Ritschard is excited for the next steps
“It’s bittersweet,” she said. “It’s a relief because it’s been a lot of hard work and build up coming to an end.”
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