The Middle Park Fair & Rodeo 4-H Junior Livestock Auction reached record-breaking numbers on August 8, 2020, with sale numbers reaching $212,050, nearly $27,000 more than last year’s sale. The robust sale sported many new buyers amongst the crowd of buyers who support the 4-H’ers every year.
Auctioneer Randy Lewis said of the sale, “Your community stepped up and showed what community is all about. You should be commended and praised. Everything comes together and makes sure these kids are taken care of. Kudos to you and God bless each of you.” Lewis has served as the MPFR auctioneer for 18 years and helped advocate to provide a virtual sale option through DVAuction
The 4-H sale has been a continuous tradition since its inception in 1952 under the leadership of Rod Hinman and has the marked hard work of enterprising 4-H members for the last 68 years. This year, however, concerns over COVID-19 forced the sale committee to adapt and make changes to the long-standing format.
COVID-19 restrictions forced the sale to be moved outside to accommodate more individuals and was moved to Saturday afternoon to provide better lighting for the virtual sale. Also for the first time this year, steers and pigs were sold by the head instead of the pound. This had mixed results with steers taking a slight dip and pigs hitting an overall record.
This year’s 4-H steers sold for $4.38 a pound, compared to last year’s which sold for $5.78 per pound. The champion steer, owned by Tally Harthun, weighed 1293 pounds and sold for $6,750.00, which was approximately $5.22 a pound. It was purchased by Colorado River Cattle Ranch. The reserve champion, a Middle Park raised steer owned by Luci Bruchez, sold for $7,500, which came within
$0.04 of last year’s average at nearly $5.74 a pound. It was purchased by Farrell Livestock and Reeder Creek Ranch Fishing Club and was the top-selling steer. Steers saw a slight increase in project numbers from last year–last year, eight steers went through the sale compared to 13 this year. The laws of supply and demand could have contributed to the higher bids seen last year.
Both poultry and rabbit sales were up. This year only 5 sets of poultry and 5 sets of rabbits were sold in the sale. Ducks, turkeys, and chickens averaged approximately $670 per animal. Madison Mullinex was grand champion with her two turkeys, which sold for $900 apiece to Blue Valley Ranch. Carson Culbreath sold his pen of three reserve champion chickens to Sleeping Indian Ranch for $675 apiece for a total of $2,025.
Rabbits averaged $655 apiece. Hunter Horn’s pen of three champion rabbits sold for $2,475 ($825 each) to Perdue Specialties. Scotty Cameron sold his pen of three reserve champion rabbits to High Country Hard Rock for $2,400. Top-selling rabbits, owned by Amber Hester, were sold for $900 apiece to High Altitude Swine. Auctioneer Lewis got to share his humorous side as Grand Hair Design, owned by Dalene Harthun, purchased rabbits, and he quipped, “Do you think she is buying rabbits to practice ‘hare’ cutting?”
The highlight of the sale was the 143-pound grand champion lamb owned by Lyndee Thomson.
It was purchased by Pat Shaw and Mark Hill for $6,100, and set the pace for the lamb sale, bringing the average sale of the lambs to $2,200 a head. In comparison, last year’s average was $1,540.90 a head. In all, there were 12 lambs sold. The reserve champion, owned by Trace Lewis, was the second-highest lamb sold, bringing $3,000. It was purchased by Triangle Equine.
On an interesting note, the top sale of a 4-H lamb was Jeff Largent’s champion lamb that brought $12,285 in 1979. The high price was a result of a bidding war between Safeway and City Market. The two competing stores pushed the price-per-pound to $105 with Safeway gaining the notoriety of winning the top bid.
Following the sheep sale were goats. The top-selling goats were grand and reserve champions, owned by Trace Lewis. Both were purchased by Cold Creek Buffalo for $1,300 and $1,100 respectively. The champion goat weighed in at 85 pounds and the reserve goat weighed in at 81 pounds. Overall, goats averaged $900 apiece a piece, which was lower than last year’s $1,332.14 a head. The numbers of goats held steady with 14 goats sold in the sale in 2019 and 2020.
Swine was the only species that saw a decline in numbers in this year’s sale. Last year there were 34 and this year there were only 22. However, the price-per-pound increased to nearly $15.35 from $9.94. Top-selling pigs were grand and reserve champions, both owned by Addyson Salyards. The grand champion pig was purchased by Legacy Building Specialties for $5,400, which averaged $21.60 a pound for the 250-pound 250 pound swine. R&R Electric purchased the 270-pound reserve champion gilt for $5,100.
The sale had several new buyers this year and four buyers who bought virtually through the internet on DVAuction.com.
The generosity of the community was on display at the 4-H sale. Triangle Equine purchased nearly
$18,000 worth of livestock and was this year’s top buyer. Triangle Equine is owned by equine veterinarian, Jill Frost. Triangle Equine was followed by Colorado Custom Services, owned by Jim Frazier. Colorado Custom Services was the 2019 top sale buyer. Other top buyers this year were R&R Electric and Bull Basin Outfitters.
Other generous acts counted donations made by 4-H members and companies alike. 4-H member Hunter Horn donated 10%of his 4-H sales to his father’s memorial scholarship and Carson Culbreath donated three of his chickens to Cliffview Assisted Living
their purchases back to be resold. Among these buyers were Colorado Custom Services, Blue Valley Ranch, High Country Hard Rock, Cold Creek Buffalo, and Old
Time Feed. Beneficiaries of the resale were the 4-H program, 4-H scholarships, 4-H council, West Grand Education Community Foundation, The Menhennett Foundation, Grand County Seniors, and Middle Park Cowbelles.
The resale was done differently this year with buyers signing up for an animal that would be purchased at market price rather than auctioning them off again as in years before.
Businesses also contributed to the sale by providing add-ons. An add-on is an additional sum of money added to the 4-H’ers total sales. Giving add-ons this year was Town and Country Insurance, Summit Ford, and Murdoch’s of Silverthorne.
The Middle Park Fair Board also donated $6,000 to the sale committee to help offset the $2,600 cost of DVAuction and the $4,200 owed to Auctioneer Randy Lewis for his services. Both DVAuction and Auctioneer Lewis provided their services at a discount this year.
A positive side-note at the sale occurred when community members bought a round of drinks from the Kremmling Chamber’s beer tent for those attending the sale. Todd Perdue bought the first round, followed by Penny and Lee Bruchez, then Ryan Vrbas and Tia Yust.
Kremmling Chamber Director Tara Sharp said, “It was really cool to see the community come together like that. Individuals would just come by and say they would like to add $100 or $200 and then the next person would come by and say they wanted to keep it going and add money.”
Sale committee vice president, Tim Ritschard highlighted the afternoon time of 3 p.m. and having the sale outside added to a family atmosphere and made the event more relaxed. The sale committee may continue this tradition in the future and follow the sale with the traditional buyer’s dinner that was omitted this year.
Penny Bruchez, sale committee secretary, thanked all the people behind the scenes who made the sale happen: Bill Jones, who helps supply the flowers, Dave Sammons and Tim Ritschard who serve as ringmen and watch for bids, Chris Murphy and Deb Wood who help keeps records, the extension office, the fair board, fairgrounds manager Pat Pryor, and the Kremmling Chamber. Bruchez also showed appreciation for Trey Linke, of One More Truck, for hauling sale animals, and extended her gratitude to Christy Horn, Morgan Ritschard, Nate Hester, Abbie and Robyn Halley, Julie Sanders, Laura Hester and Jeremy Salyards.
Ending on a positive note, sale committee member Deb Wood also thanked the 4-H’ers for all their hard work and care they put into their animals to get them ready for fair.
“They work so hard on their projects. I think they need to be recognized for that,” she said.