The retort came back loudly and clearly Saturday at the Johnson County Junior Livestock Show and Youth Fair: Hail, Yes!
Maddison Holder, an Alvarado High School junior and FFA member, picked up a check for $11,000 as grand champion winner for Caesar, a European variety bevo, in the premium auction sale.
Ty Gillespie of Joshua FFA banked a check for $10,000 as the reserve champion with another European.
Bidders’ bankrolls held up nicely throughout the sale, with grand and reserve championships taking a $68,950 bite out of the record-total $419,000. That figure includes $40,000 in add-on money.
“I’d say that’s real good considering the economy and the price of feed and [show] animals,” show Superintendent Ronnie Galbreath said.
Lindsey Jones of Friendship 4-H received $7,000 for her grand champion swine. Trae Bevers of Venus FFA received $4,500 for his reserve champion swine.
Chase Folwell of Cleburne FFA received $2,500 for the grand champion market rabbit and Reagan Maples of Cleburne FFA $2,000 for the reserve market rabbit.
Godley FFA’s Regan Abadie received $1,500 for the grand champion market fryer and Joshua Jones of Joshua FFA $1,250 for the reserve champion fryer.
The grand champion turkey, owned by Maci Hamilton of Godley FFA, made $2,500, while the reserve champion turkey made $1,500.
Robert Max McKnight of Friendship 4-H got $3,000 for the grand champion market broiler and Zach Smith of Grandview FFA $3,950 for the reserve champion broiler.
Brigg Hawkins of Friendship 4-H got $3,500 for the grand championship market lamb and Friendship 4-H’s Brayden Hawkins $4,500 for the reserve champion lamb.
Brayden Hawkins got $5,000 for the grand champion goat and Zena Goodwin of Lillian 4-H $5,250 for the reserve champion goat.
Caesar, Holder’s grand champion, carries a Hico birth certificate when he goes visiting.
“We got him from a guy in Hico named Brent Edwards,” Holden said. “He’s a Simmental, and he’s the best steer I’ve ever raised. We were hoping to win the show.”
There was elbow grease involved, naturally.
“We were looking at body and structure and show appeal,” Holder said. “We washed and dried him every day to make sure his hair was pretty, and we practiced in the show ring so he wouldn’t be scared when he walked in. Actually, he wasn’t on his best behavior [for the Cleburne show]. He was a little ornery.”
Caesar’s next show will be March in Houston. Holder elected to skip the Fort Worth show. Until then, Caesar will be on a maintenance schedule.
“We’ll shave him so he doesn’t have any hair,” Holder said, “and we’ll feed him to the finish line.”
She’s already looking forward to 2014.
“Last year, I showed heifers. I’m really excited. This is a great feeling. With the money I’m getting, I’ll probably buy more steers for my senior year.”
Gillespie went north for his steer.
“We bought ’em off a steer jockey in Wichita Falls. His name is Adam Potts,” Gillespie said. “We’ve been going to him for the last two years. I had a real nice calf last year, but we took him to Fort Worth and he got crippled, so he [Potts] cut us a deal on this one. We really like him.
“He looks good in the ring. He’s built right.”
He’s not perfect.
“He can have an attitude problem,” Gillespie said. “He’s real spooky, but he’s one of my favorite steers. We hope he does well in Fort Worth.”
Galbreath was all smiles as the show wound down.
“That [$68,950] is pretty close to a record if not a record,” he said. “It’s been a good sale. We’re down in entries a little bit. This is the first year we’ve had the show in January, so we knew there would be some changes, but we weren’t off that much.
“The economy affected the entries. It costs more to buy one and then feed one. We’ve got the same number of kids but not the same number of animals.
“And it’s tough to find certain species of animals this time of year for this kind of show. People have to go up in the Midwest to get a hog. They’re a lot cheaper up there. It’s gotten so competitive that you nearly have to go outside to buy a hog at a cheaper price.”
Galbreath said the show committee is happy with the show dates at this point.
“We got some rain this year, but as I told somebody the other day, we need to have a show every month so we’ll get some rain,” he said. “We had a good show with good animals.”
Grand and reserve champion animal buyers included:
Grand steer: Lone Star Ag Credit, Pinnacle Bank, Woolley Associates Auction, Woolley CPA, Guy and Claudia Humphreys, Gene Embry, Brazos Valley Equipment, Miller Metal Building, Todd Bonns, Cleburne Ford
Reserve steer: Simpson Crushed Stone
Grand rabbit: Cleburne Welding, Ricky and Penny Carroll, Double C Services, Pinnacle Bank, Wal-Mart Distribution, Gene Embry, Gary and Claudia Humphreys
Reserve rabbit: Lone Star Ag Credit, Pinnacle Bank, Chicken Express, Cleburne Ford, Brazos Valley Equipment, Goodwin Farms, Wal-Mart Distribution
Grand fryer: Godley Ag Boosters, Goodwin Farms, Pinnacle Bank, Cleburne Ford, Brazos Valley Equipment, Gary and Claudia Humphreys, Wal-Mart Distribution, Gene Embry
Reserve fryer: Joshua FFA Alumni, EOC Resources, Pinnacle Bank, Cleburne Ford, Brazos Valley Equipment, Gary and Claudia Humphreys, AAA Drilling
Grand turkey: H-E-B
Reserve turkey: United Cooperative Services, Lyness, Simpson Crushed Stone, Red Dot, Pinnacle Bank, First Financial, Wal-Mart Distribution.
Grand broiler: Johnson County Farm Bureau
Reserve broiler: Grady Reynolds
Grand swine: Gene Embry, Pinnacle Bank, Miller Metal Building, Cleburne Ford, Red Dot, CME, Friendship Motors, Gary and Claudia Humphreys, Lyness, Devon Energy, Joshua Feed, Jeff England Motor Co., Wal-Mart Distribution, LRS
Reserve swine: Northside Animal Clinic, Devon Energy, Gary and Claudia Humphreys, Miller Metal Building, Gene Embry, Cleburne Ford, Pinnacle Bank, First Financial, Red Dot, Chicken Express, Gary Humphreys, Brazos Valley, Lyness, Wal-Mart Distribution
Champion lambs: Goodwin, Devon, Brazos Valley Equipment, FNB, Cleburne Ford, Northside Animal Clinic, England Motor Co., Cleburne Fence, Benchmark, Tilton’s, Wal-Mart Distribution
Reserve lambs: Simpson Crushed Stone
Champion goats: Gary and Claudia Humphreys, Lyness, Pinnacle Bank, Cleburne Ford, Embry, United Cooperative Services, Jeff England, Red Dot, XTO, LRS Construction, Benchmark, Miller Metal Buildings, Woolley & Associates, Wal-Mart Distribution
Reserve goats: Alvarado Chicken Express