For the first time, the L.A. County Fair’s Junior Livestock Competition and Auction was presented as a separate event a month after the closing of the annual county fair. Recently completed it was held Nov. 11 through 15 in FairView Farms as a free event to the public.
“We have always wanted to make this a standalone event and this year we were able to accomplish that feat. The priority of this event has always been, and will continue to be, the support of agriculture,” said Jill Roman, attractions and competitions supervisor for the Fair.
So how did things work out? According to Roman, “By having our competition and auction after the Fair we were able to increase our entries by more than 300 and we were able to offer more for our exhibitors and buyers the day of the auction.”
It should be noted that the judging and auction did not include small stock this year: rabbits, poultry and turkeys. Rather the emphasis was on large livestock: beef cattle, sheep, swine, goats and calves. Judging was held primarily Thursday, Nov. 12 and included all market and feeder classes for swine, lambs, goats, calves and beef cattle, all of which culminated with the selection of Supreme Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion for each species. Showmanship and breeding classes were also held that day.
The highlight of the competitions remained the Junior Livestock Auction, which was held Saturday, Nov. 14, and marked the culmination of the year-long endeavors of 4-H & FFA members, college students and other youth enrolled in agriculture programs who are learning about raising livestock as a small business enterprise.
Ninety-five animals were awarded gold ribbons during the judging, making them eligible for the sale. With the exception of market goats and calves, prices paid per pound by local buyers were higher than 2008. Market beef cattle sold for an average price of $2.23 per pound compared to $2.12 last year. Market lambs brought in an average of $2.40 per pound compared to $2.09 last year. Market hogs sold for an average of $2.42 per pound compared to $2.06 last year. Prices paid for the grand champion animals were equal to or slightly lower than the previous year, which means that with the prices higher overall per pound, the monies were spread more evenly amongst the exhibitors.
Roman also pointed out that there was more opportunity to cater to and educate the potential buyers during the new event. A Bidding Barn 101 was created to provide information from A to Z about the auction including how to bid, meat processing and the benefits of supporting the youth programs. A 4-H booth was also on hand so members could inform potential buyers about the organization and its accomplishments.
Additionally a pancake breakfast was offered to buyers as well as a special area of display for the grand champion animals. “This year was very special to us because we were able to bring the auction back to our very own FairView Farms here at Fairplex,” said Roman. In prior years the auction was held in Hinds Pavilion.
Among the buyers was Arthur Partridge of Yorba Linda who purchased three of the grand champion animals. He bought the 1,309-pound Grand Champion Market Steer raised by Cody Watts, 12, of Bakersfield and Greeley 4-H for $3 per pound or $3,927; the 229-pound Grand Champion Market Hog raised by Cole Rinehart, 18, of Fresno and Clovis FFA, for $3 per pound or $687; and the 365-pound Grand Champion Market Calf raised by Marcos Wood, 12, of Rowland Heights and Bloomington Boosters 4-H Club for $4 per pound or $1,460. Multi Net of Yorba Linda shared in the purchase of the Grand Champion Market Calf. Other champion buyers included Heidi Hanson of Glendora who purchased the 1,298-pound Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer raised by Mario Buoni IV, 17, of Bakersfield and West Bakersfield 4-H, for $3 per pound or $3,894. Scott Pavletich of Bakersfield bought the 154-pound Grand Champion Market Lamb raised by Jason Pavletich, 21, of Bakersfield and an open junior exhibitor, for $5 per pound or $770. The 156-pound Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb raised by Miles Mankins of Pismo Beach and Nipomo FFA sold to Jim Henwood, CEO of the L.A. County Fair, for $3 per pound or $468. McKee Trucking of Bloomington purchased the 286-pound Reserve Grand Champion Market Hog raised by Cody McKee, 19, of Bloomington and Bloomington Boosters 4-H, for $4 per pound or $1,144. Dennis and Nikki Repp of Newport Beach bought the 102-pound Grand Champion Market Goat for $6.25 per pound or $637.50 raised by Felicia Byrne, 19, of Agua Dulce and Canyon Coyotes 4-H. Burrtec Waste Industries of Fontana purchased the 286-pound Reserve Grand Champion Market Calf raised by Laura Villegas, 17, of Buena Park and Buena Park FFA, for $2.50 per pound or $715. In addition to the market livestock judging and the auction, master showmanship classes, breeding livestock judging, costume contests, skillathons, wool and leather fashion shows were held during event.
Photos of all the grand champions can be found at 2009 Junior Livestock Auction - a set on Flickr.
The 2010 L.A. County Fair is set for Sept. 4 – Oct. 3. Dates for the Junior Livestock Competition and Show next year will be announced at a later date. More information on the Fair and Fairplex activities may be found at www.lacountyfair.com or www.fairplex.com or by calling (909) 623-31