After months of raising and caring for goats and sheep and pigs, young ranchers and 4-H’ers sold their prize critters at the Montezuma County Fair livestock sale on Saturday.
The animals were shown and judged earlier in the week, and then ceremonially auctioned off in the main barn at the fairgrounds.
Andelin Lanier, 12, had been raising her sheep since the animal was 3 weeks old.
“You have to feed them morning and night, and work with them every day,” Lanier said before heading to the auction stage. “But it’s super fun, and I really enjoy it.”
The livestock sale is an annual tradition at the fair. Participants marched their prize goats, pigs, steers, and sheep across a stage set up in the main barn, while local businesses bid thousands of dollars on the animals.
Savannah Story started showing goats at the age of 9 or 10, she said. Now 16, Story has transitioned to steer showing and beef projects.
“I was raised around cows, and this entire business,” Story said. “So it’s deeply rooted into my personality.”
She began working with her steer when he was about 8 months old, she said.
“We don’t want to start working with them when they’re too young,” Story said.
He was a bit obnoxious before his halter broke him, she said – now he’s “a very happy steer most of the time.” He’s 16 months old, and placed fifth in his class earlier in the week, she said.
Bovine care can be an expensive endeavor, especially when considering the feed required for the large animals – an amount that increases as the animal grows.
And while an animal’s standing in a show can be largely judge-dependent, she said, a steer’s meatiness is generally a consideration.
“They usually want to have more fat on beef than they do on goats,” Story said. “With goats, they want more muscle. Because it’s a leaner meat.”
The livestock sale was followed by a chuckwagon dinner hosted by the Southwestern Cowbelles.