Anyone familiar with the animal scene at the Del Norte County Fair has likely heard of K’Marie Magray.
A veteran of the show ring, Magray said she has raised every market species that can be raised for the fair. On Sunday, just before her pen of three fryer rabbits sold for $375, Magray, 18, announced in her introduction to the buyers that the 2018 Junior Livestock Auction would be her last.
Even though she said she was glad it’s over, Magray said she’ll help her younger brother, Donald, raise his animals for the fair.
“I’m going to help him by raising his steer and his goat and his lamb for him and he’s going to give me part of the check,” she said. “So I’ll do all the work and I get half the check.”
Donald, who stood next to his sister, waiting to help their fellow young farmers connect with local business owners and Del Norte County residents buying their animals, corrected Magray.
“At least a quarter (of the check),” he said. “Maybe half if I’m feeling OK.”
With long time auctioneer Morris Moxon reminding folks to “dig deep, this is for the kids,” individuals and businesses bought more than 114 animals from youngsters participating in the Lake Earl Grange, Future Farmers of America and local 4H programs. But before the first youngster, Emmett Bayon, entered the ring with his 27-pound turkey, Blake Alexandre told the buyers what the kids went through to get to the auction.
“I think we all need to be reminded every year that we’re really doing a good thing here,” he said. “It’s a very very good service. These kids have all gone out and raised projects for the last year — some of them are six month projects; some of them are much longer — and they’ve done their best.”
Alexandre reminded buyers the youth in the auction have fed their animal and brought it to the fair to show before judges.
“If they’re here today and they’re selling in the auction, it’s because they made it through different criteria and different standards that have been established throughout the years,” he said. “Then we line them up in auction order, and we try to sell them in order of top to bottom. They’re ranked and rated based on their characteristics and hopefully how they’re going to taste and eat for you.”
Alexandre also explained the rate of gain requirements for youngsters to participate in the auction. Those who “barely miss” the minimum qualification for rate of gain weren’t able to sell their animals, he said.
With his pig Judy weighing in at 230 pounds, 12-year-old Keaton Clewell, a member of Lake Earl Grange, was well within the required 215-265 pound weight requirement for swine. He said he purchased Judy, a Hampshire-Berkshire cross, at 8 weeks old. On Sunday, Judy sold for $5 per pound.
Keaton, who has raised pigs for four years, said pigs typically generate between $1,000 to $2,000 at the auction. He said he plans to use the money he earns from his pig to pay his parents back for feed and other items used to raise Judy and invest in next year’s project, another pig.
Even though he plans to raise another pig next year, Keaton pointed out that every year can be different.
“Every year judges like different things so it’s kind of a little bit of a learning experience every year,” he said, adding that this year, however, was easy. “The judge liked pigs that were thick through the middle and walked slow.”
Fourteen-year-old Kaydence Farley, whose pig Pua received reserve supreme grand champion, or second place, said she doesn’t care about the money. Raising Pua was exciting, she said.
“I can’t wait to do it again next year,” Kaydence said.
As of Monday, fair staff were still tallying up the results of the livestock auction. A representative for the fairgrounds said the results likely wouldn’t be available until the end of the week.
Reach Jessica Cejnar at firstname.lastname@example.org .