Forty local buyers bid on over 100 animals raised by 4-H participants during the livestock sale at the Montezuma County Fair on Saturday.
The auctioneer urged on the large crowd gathered in the main barn as bidders drove up prices for steer, swine, sheep, goats and fowl.
Local businesses, individuals and organizations buy animals above market value to support the youths who raise the animals.
A buy-back program allows the kids to keep the animal if they choose.
The Grand Champion steer, owned by Hunter Goodall, weighed in at 1,364 pounds and sold at auction for $7,300. Dannika Goodall had the Reserve Grand Champion steer, which sold for $7,100.
The livestock sale is a chance for 4-H youths to earn money while showcasing the animals they have raised all year. They learn how to care for and produce quality market animals and make a profit after paying off costs of raising the animal.
Last year, sales hit about $250,000.
Taylor Garner, 12, raised a Maine angou steer named Mike, which sold for $3,800.
“I like how much fun it is raising them,” she said.
Gabriella Gray, 15, raised a dark cross pig named Sporky. It sold for $2,400.
“They are super-smart creatures and are very beautiful,” she said. “The best part is showing. The challenge is keeping them at a good market weight.”
Dallin Lanier sold his steer for $3,700, and his costs included $1,000 in feed.
“I’m using the profits to save for college,” he said.
Fair intern Tierney Wilson spent 11 years in Montezuma County 4-H, and the money she earned selling sheep at the fair paid for college.
“It helped me graduate debt free,” she said. “The opportunities I had in 4-H were a huge part of where I am today.”
The open class portion of the 4-H fair events includes a variety of projects, ranging from food, arts and crafts, and research projects.
Lily Forsythe, 15, had a presentation on gun safety. She also took fourth place in the .22 pistol shoot competition after practicing all year.
“It is nice to learn from people with experience and a lot of knowledge,” she said.
The 10-day fair wrapped up Saturday. It featured rodeos, a demolition derby, animals shows, arts and crafts and a country music concert.
Kids reveled in the chicken chase, sheep scramble, and other fun events.
Fair attendance is up over last year, which saw less people because of the pandemic, said Greg Felsen, director of Montezuma County CSU Extension.
“We have seen good interest in the 4-H program and people were signing up this week,” he said.