Saturday is 4-H kids’ payday |

Saturday is 4-H kids’ payday

Pam BoydEagle CorrespondentVail, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado For all those 4-H kids who have been basically living at the Eagle County Fairgrounds for the past week, Saturday is pay day.Specifically, at 1 p.m. Saturday, the auction action will commence for the 2008 Junior Livestock Sale. The sale is a signature event for the fair, providing local youngsters with an enthusiastic market for their cows, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry.Its the pay check for a summers work of work, explains Jenny Wood, 4-H coordinator for Eagle Countys Colorado State University Extension. And after a long week of showing animals, the sale is a great celebration for competitors. Wood, who participated in Eagle County 4-H as a youth, notes that during fair week there is a lot of pressure for market animal competitors. They have to groom their animals, bone up on species specifics and hope the hours they spent training pay off with good behavior in the ring.The stakes at the various animal species shows are high competitors performance in those shows determine sale order. Animals that score the highest topped by the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion sell first and typically sell for higher prices.The sale itself is not really a stressful time. Its more of a fun time, explains Wood. Also, by the time of the sale, you are too tired to be stressed.Saturdays sale schedule begins with a free lunch at noon for all past and prospective livestock buyers. The auction itself gets under way at 1 p.m. Market beef are first up, followed by pigs, sheep, goats and poultry. Organizers expect 125 animals will be auctioned.Animals are sold by the head, not by the pound. Most of our buyers arent living on ranches, Wood noted. Therefore buyers are more familiar with the idea of purchasing an animal, versus paying a per pound price. We changed that to fit our audience better.Last years grand champion steer sold for $6,700. The grand champion pig sold for $4,000 while the top sheep netted $1,800. The grand champion goat and turkey sold for $900, respectively. Animals sold today will be loaded up and taken to the processing plant on Sunday. Buyers will received their processed meat approximately two weeks later.The sale typically lasts around three hours and attracts a dedicated group of bidders who have supported the event for decades. But new blood is always welcome, Wood says.Theres so many businesses in the county who dont even know about the sale, she says. But Wood also believes many businesses would welcome the opportunity to support a great kids program such as 4-H. Even if they havent been to the show before, she stressed new market buyers are always welcome.

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