Beyond the endless trays of curly fries and corn dogs, past the colorful lights and flare of carnival rides and games, the heart of the Del Norte County Fair lies in a swine, steer, goat or rabbit that has been attentively cared for by a young member of the community.
On Sunday, 73 young Del Norters presented the meaty fruits of their labor during the 2013 Junior Livestock Auction when buyers, including many loyal supporters of the event, pull out their pocketbooks to fill their freezers.
Many of the sellers, all from either a local Grange, 4-H club or Future Farmers of America, have experience raising livestock at home with their families, but the live product presented at the auction is their own pride and joy.
All of the sellers take care to present their goat, duck, turkey or other animal in its best condition, with some going the extra mile to spruce up the animals.
Sixteen-year-old Nicholle Boulby, of the Grange, decorated her 1,375-pound steer with glitter, because “I think they look cuter and nicer that way,” she said. She earned a silver award and Grange Reserve for her steer.
“You just have to spend a lot of quality time with it,” Boulby said. “Each day, if you work with it, they get better.”
This was the third year Boulby raised a steer for the auction, but she raised pigs for thee year before that, just like her family does on a regular basis.GLITCH
Most of the kids start with something small like a rabbit, duck or turkey before working up to steers and pigs. But rabbits, advertised by one seller as “lean, high in protein” and “tastes just like chicken,” still command a high price at the livestock auction.
Maggie Heilweck was able to get $77 a pound for her eight-pound Stewer Rabbit. Surely the rabbit’s colorful beaded necklaces and earrings didn’t hurt.
The Grand Champions of the 2013 Junior Livestock Auction:
• K’Marie Magray, Pine Grove 4H, 8-pound Roaster Rabbit
• Harleigh Pearson, Wild River 4H, Pen 2 ducks at 17 pounds
• Brinkley Webb, Pine Grove 4H, Pen 3 Fryer at 15 pounds
• Connor Smith, FFA, Steer at 1,326 pounds
• Payton Webb, Pine Grove 4H, Single Fryer at 5 pounds
• McNeely Olson, Giddy Up N Goat 4H, Goose at 28 pounds
• Denisha Thomas, Wild River 4H, Stewer Rabbit at 9 pounds
• Tvshiina Jacobs, Grange, Swine at 259 pounds