At the Montezuma County Fair Saturday, the community gathered to bid on livestock raised by local 4-H youths.
There were 95 animals this year, and 45 buyers representing local businesses, said Greg Felsen, the county’s agriculture extension agent.
“The generosity of businesses bidding has been amazing, especially in a time when the economy is hurting,” he said.
Buyers bid on goats, sheep, steer, poultry and pigs at far above market value.
“It is a way to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers. The kids learn a lot raising these animals,” Felsen said.
Bleachers were full of bidders and family members watching their children parade their animals in the arena. Auctioneers urged the prices to go up and up, and the crowd responded with cheers.
Animals of all kinds were purchased for thousands of dollars, even though the market value was sometimes in the hundreds of dollars.
Proud-faced kids groomed and washed their animals before the show and were all smiles when they sold for top dollar.
With cash on hand, some planned to buy more animals to raise, and others were saving for college or their first motor vehicle.
Tanna Young raised the grand champion steer, a Maine Anjou breed named Charley that weighed in at 1,256 pounds.
“I like that they are large animals, and are playful,” said Young, 11. “I learned raising them is sometimes hard work, and to show a steer you have to be tough.”
Her steer sold for $6,150, and Young said she planned to use the money to go to veterinarian school.
Cheyenne Castillo-Calvillo raised Max, a Suffolk sheep, from birth.
“I really enjoy working with animals. It is a fun time for me. Max is very nice and loves people,” she said.
With the money she made, she plans to buy more farm animals to raise.
This was Armadeo Martinez’s first livestock sale. He showed and sold a Hampshire pig for $1,400. He plans to put the money toward a new pickup truck.
Harlan Mack, 8, sold his Simmental Cross steer for $2,800.
“I’m going to buy another one to raise because I like taking care of them,” he said.