County Fair 2019: Part 3 ~ Junior Livestock Auction, Large Animal Master Showmanship

Sunday was our auction day. Walking through the fair at 6:30 am.

First things first, feed the animals.

And then. like every morning, we cleaned out the stalls and refilled the shavings.

This year, we had a heck of a time with our breaker constantly tripping in our area of the barn. Which meant that when I wanted hot water for tea or hot chocolate I had to literally stand in one of our goat pens near the next outlet, with this thing balanced on the stalls.

I'm keeping it real with this next photo but this morning, this happened.

Nutsy's lamb had a blow out and it hit Ashley not just on this jacket, but all down her pants as well. The craziness of livestock and one of the reasons why we don't put our whites on until the very last minute.

All of my project kids get their animals washed and ready, just like a show. After all, this is the auction, and people are coming here to buy your animal. All of my kids then go looking for their buyers. Year after year, they find previous buyers and ask them to come look at their animals.

Our fair is so large that we have two auction rings going simultaneously. The inside one starts with goats so all of my other project kids auctioned off in the morning.

Lambs start after the sale of champions in the inside auction ring, so my two girls didn't sell until around 2 pm.

This is the inside ring. Yes, it is quite crowded down there. The outside ring only sells hogs and rabbits, and both go on forever. When the auction was done I glanced at my phone and it was almost 6 pm.

After each person sells, they go and find the buyer to thank them.

Our fair also did something different this year - all market animals went into holding pens immediately after auction.

Red paint means resale (the buyer sold it back to the slaughterhouse) and blue paint means custom (the buyer wants the meat in their own freezer).

I wasn't sure how this would all work with over 300 goats and lambs, but it actually went pretty smooth. The exhibitors could go in at any time and be with their animals, and especially the goats looked they were having a party in there.

Ashley went in to find her lamb, and he literally found her.

We also give them a treat they don't get to have the rest of their lives, an unfilled ice cream cone.

This is a little sad; these kids have poured so much into these animals - at times they feel like pets - but this is why we are raising them. For food.

I do respect my vegetarian friends and their food decisions. But we do eat meat, and by being in 4-H and raising a market animal up to the quality standards of the food industry, my children are learning what goes into our food, and how to humanely care for it.

Nutsy's animal was bought by Les Schwab Tires, which are huge supporters of our auction. A group of them came over with her, to take a photo with her and her lamb.

And, the manager of the store had a hat for her too.

It is wonderful to see the relationships my kids are building with local business owners. Les Schwab bought her animal the year before also. She went into their store a few months ago, met with the manager and gave him a personal letter, and then found him again this morning at the fair.

Here are the girls with Andy, a long-time figure at our fair. He has watched the girls show since we began this journey ten years ago, and this year bought Ashley's lamb with a proxy bid.

Later that evening, we passed the time with card games on a goat stand.

For dinner we have our goat project potluck.

I have a really great group of kids with committed parents.

I appreciate them all, and the hard work and countless hours they put into their project.

The 2019 Clover 4-H Club Market Goat Project.

This girl below was super helpful to me this year - she was my Project Teen Leader, and helped to lead a portion of my meetings each month. We would meet ahead of time and talk about what we were focusing on and how to teach it.

Another reason why 4-H is awesome - building teen leaders.

Monday, the last day we were here, and we were all there early to clean out all the market pens.

I made a Starbucks run.

In the morning, we also took a couple of loads of tack out to my car.

Catching a ride back.

The big thing happening today was master showmanship. By winning senior goat showmanship, Ashley had qualified to show in 4-H senior large master.

Ready to go.

Swine was first.

Her hog really worked with her, which was nice.

She said that she actually really liked doing swine and would have loved to do the project. Oy.

Next up was sheep..,

Lamb is another species that she does have some knowledge of.

And then goat.

She is showing a breeding goat; one disadvantage to our fair is that all of the market animals go out the day before, so for master showmanship you are either showing a breeding animal, or a very untrained market animal.

And the other weird thing about our fair - since diary goats now show with Nigerian goats (because they are both recognized as dairy breeds) the winner of showmanship was a Nigey person, so in our large animal master showmanship the kids all showed Nigey goats.


Doing her pivot.

Dairy cow.

This is another unusual species to show in master, since it is not a market animal.

And finally beef.

This was the last time she would ever step into a show ring. I had told her that we didn't really care about the outcome (winning masters is seriously like dropping coins into a slot machine in Vegas) and I just wanted her to have fun.

While we were waiting for the results, my project members surprised me with this fun framed collage of our week at fair.

Later, at our end of the year club party, they also presented me with a 4-H key chain and a lovely market goat necklace. These are harder to find because most goat accessories have horns.

At the awards ceremony, they all had to introduce themselves.

These were a great group of showman, and Ashley ended up in 4th place!

And that was our fair. We had to wait around for a few more hours until we were released, and then it was a mad dash to get a trailer out into the line at the far end of the fairgrounds so we didn't have to wait too long. I was thankful we were home by 8 pm, and then spent the next day cleaning out everything and stashing it in our shed for the next year.

I am so thankful for all we learn in 4-H. I am also thankful for good times, the hard times and all of the lessons.


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