By Brandon Anicich
It was another memorable year for the El Dorado County Fair’s 2011 Junior Livestock Auction, as the county’s 4-H, Future Farmers of America, local Granges and youngsters from plenty of organizations put their best foot forward and put up their prized animals for sale — to be bid on by residents and business owners living and working in El Dorado County.
The auction has long been a tradition focused on community — and if the results are any gauge, it’s safe to say that El Dorado County is a rip-roaring wonderful place to be. Setting records left and right, the event brought in over $235,000 in a single afternoon — one of the best results in the history of the auction.
Three-hundred-and-thirty animals went up for bid — 19 steers, 120 hogs, 59 lambs, 10 goats, nine chickens and turkeys, and 13 rabbits. What outshone the number of animals to bid on were the averages each category sold for. Steers went for an average of $2.73 per pound. Hogs garnered a median of $3.40 per pound while lambs and goats brought in averages of $5.58 and $6.08 per pound, respectively.
The chickens, turkeys and rabbits up for bid went for incredible averages — $330 per pen for the winged wonders, and $363 per pen for the fur-clad creatures.
The winners in each category featured familiar names and faces as well as a few surprises.
Well known name around the auction and veteran steer raiser Emily Piland earned herself a blue ribbon once again, pulling in $7,566 for her Supreme Champion Market Steer. Shingle Springs FFA member Kayla Bloxsom’s Reserve Supreme Champion steer was no easy feat to achieve as well, and she was rewarded with a $2,925 payout for her animal. Placerville’s own Brent Huston brought in a winner with his Grange Champion Steer, and netted $2,657 for his 1,242 pound steer while Jordyn Gilmore’s 1,200-plus pound Reserve Champion 4-H Steer earned $3,208.
David Marr of El Dorado Hills brought home the blue ribbon for his FFA Reserve Champion Steer, an animal that earned him $2,825 in the auction and Brooke Beals’ Grange Reserve Champion Steer pulled in $2,745 to round out the champions’ auction results.
It’s expected that each animal category will be the epitome of competition — but none was so obvious as the swine category. With over a hundred animals ready to be judged, bid on, sold and butchered — it was apparent from the start that anyone sporting a blue ribbon at the end of the day was going to have to earn it.
Shingle Springs resident and Ponderosa FFA representative Amber James earned it — with her 275 pound Supreme Champion Market Swine — one heck of a hog that garnered $1,100 in the auction. Placerville resident and Gold Hill Toppers 4-H competitor Matt Deane’s Reserve Supreme Champion Market Steer weighed in at 271 pounds — a lunker just like James’ — and one that brought Deane a pile of cash as well — $1,355 to be exact.
Clara Marks of Shingle Springs 4-H must’ve known there’d be equally stiff competition in the goat category, and went all out to raise her 87 pound Supreme Champion Market Goat — a prize of an animal that brought Marks $1,218 in the process. Georgetown’s Jesse Schnetz of the Dusty Dividers 4-H took that winning mentality straight up to the auction stage, as his Supreme Champion Market Lamb brought in $828.
Fellow DD4-H member Natalia Biale of Coloma brought in a pen of two chickens that later would be crowned Champion Pen of Chickens — the equivalent of a clucker saying,“That’s King Chicken to you, sir!” — and came away with a cool $400 for her efforts. Breanna Winter’s single fryer rabbit turned out to be the Holy Grail of single fryer rabbits, as it earned Champion Rabbit Fryer and a nice $150 payout for Breanna. Chelsey Fergusson’s Champion Turkey earned her $250 while William Winter’s Champion Pen of Rabbits garnered $200.
Courtney Smith’s hog won the FFA Reserve Champion Market Swine while Smith was rewarded on the auction block with a smooth $844 winning bid. Wyatt Herrick’s 266 pound beast of a hog won 4-H Reserve Champion Market Swine and also a payout of $1,064. Everett Gordon’s Reserve Supreme Champion Market Goat brought him $470 for his efforts, while Zachary Schnetz’ Reserve Supreme Champion Market Lamb pulled down $508 from some very impressed bidders.
Caitlin Bandera skipped her way to the champions’ circle with her FFA Champion Market Goat and a $400 payday while Matt Millward of Shingle Springs’s FFA Champion Market Lamb earned him $532 on the day. Devan Martin’s FFA Reserve Champion Market Lamb brought in a killer $671 while Maria Watkins’ FFA Champion Market Goat took in a whopping $840.
Erin Seeley’s lamb was the talk of the auction, earning the coveted 4-H Champion White Face Champion Lamb and a wicked $1,070 for the Diamond Springs resident and member of the Gold Hill Toppers 4-H.
Brianna Hlavay’s FFA Champion White Face Market Lamb was something to see as well, bringing in $448, while Sienna Smith’s beautiful 4-H Reserve Champion White Face Market Lamb brought her $476. Nick Madsen’s FFA Reserve White Face Market Lamb brought him $378 at auction.