By Karla Pomeroy

County Fair: It all leads up to the livestock sale


August 2, 2017

Tracie Mitchell

Elizabeth Lungren works on getting her pig squeaky clean Tuesday morning during the swine weigh-in for the Washakie County Fair at the Washakie County Fairgrounds in Worland. The market swine show was Tuesday night. The junior livestock sale, where the market animals will be sold, is Saturday at 2 p.m.

WORLAND - After all the market shows are complete at the county fairs, the hard work from area youth ends in the reward of selling their animals at the junior livestock sale.

The junior livestock sales for Hot Springs County and Big Horn County will be this Friday night.

Hot Springs County Fair administrative assistant Valerie Mead said the pre-sale buyer's dinner will begin at 6 p.m. in the multi-purpose building at the fairgrounds in Thermopolis. The sale begins at 7 p.m.

Mead said they sell all of one market species with sheep starting off the sale this year. She said the grand champion for each market species will be sold at the start of the sale of that particular species.

She said they also intersperse a judge's choice bake sale throughout the auction. She said the judge selects up to 12 exhibits from Tuesday's cake decorating and foods entries to be sold at Friday's auction. This allows people who don't have market animals to have their hard work on fair projects also rewarded, Mead noted.

This year, at the beginning of the sale, fairgrounds groundskeeper Martin Bader will be honored for his 28 years of service. Bader retired this year, Mead said.


Big Horn County 4-H Educator and Junior Livestock Sale Committee Chairman Gretchen Gasvoda said the buyers and exhibitors dinner Friday runs from 5-7 p.m. with the sale starting at 6 p.m. in the Big Horn REA building.

She said grand champions of each market animal will be sold on the second page of the buyer's auction list. She said the rest of the sale is set up as a random draw through a computer program although smaller animals such as chickens, rabbits and turkeys are sold first.

Gasvoda said they try to mix up the animals throughout the sale, noting there are usually more lamb and swine than beef and goats.

She said she anticipates about 175 animals will be sold this year, noting they have seen an increase enrollment in 4-H the past two years, which equals more animals sold at the livestock sale the past two years.


Washakie County's junior livestock sale will be Saturday afternoon with the buyers luncheon at 12:30 p.m. and the sale beginning at 2 p.m.

Washakie County 4-H Educator Amber Armajo said the order of the auction is random but follows an order of following the order of swine, rabbits, poultry, beef, goats and sheep. Armajo said they will sell a few animals of each species in that order randomly throughout the sale.

She noted grand and reserve champions are sold at the beginning of the sale.

There are about 66 4-H and FFA members expected to sell market animals at Saturday's junior livestock auction this year. Armajo said members can sell up to two animals. Last year there were 113 animals sold, she said.

Armajo said all members who will sell at Saturday's junior livestock sale completed a mandatory quality assurance training. The program, she said, was implemented as part of the Wyoming 4-H program to achieve goals to improve youth understanding of the responsibilities involved in raising market livestock.

Through the program, youth learned how to improve food quality, improve care and management, avoid drug residues and increase product value.

"They learn how to care for and feed their animals in a way that produces the best quality meat possible," Armajo said.


The junior livestock sale wouldn't be a sale without buyers and there are several ways to participate and support the local youth.

Buyers can show up and bid at any of the auctions. Bidders, either individually or businesses, can combine to bid on an animal.

Once awarded the winning bid, a bidder can keep the live animal, donate the animal back, send the animal to be processed, or designate it for commercial re-sale, where the buyer only pays the difference between the auction price and the market price. Market prices are announced at the start of each sale.

In Washakie County, bidders can also sell animals privately with funds being donated back to the Washakie County 4-H program or FFA chapter.

Gasvoda said if a buyer plans to have an animal processed they are encouraged to reserve a space now because the number of meat processing plants is limited in the Big Horn Basin.

If someone wants to bid but is unable to attend any of the sales, they can contact the fair offices or Extension offices to have someone bid for them - Washakie County Extension, 307-347-3431; Hot Springs County Fair Office, 307-864-2019; and Big Horn County Fair Office, 307-568-2968; Gasvoda said interested buyers in Big Horn County can also contact her at 307-272-0576.

Another way, if someone is interested in supporting the youth but doesn't want to purchase an animal is through add-ons. A person can designate a set amount to add on to the price of the animal sold at the auction. They can designate the add-on for a specific 4-H or FFA member or they can do it for a certain group or for everyone.

Gasvoda said there are a few businesses each year who do add-ons in Big Horn County for each 4-H and FFA member selling an animal.

"Any add-on or bid is greatly appreciated," Gasvoda said.

Armajo added, "We appreciate the community support [for the livestock sale]. It's a small but generous community."


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