At the conclusion of Grandview 4-H member Mason Grady’s sale of his grand champion market steer, auctioneer Larry Woolley marveled “That’s the first time in history that we’ve sold one online.”
It wouldn’t be the last in this strange 2020 going into 2021 wracked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s Johnson County Livestock Show and Youth Fair looked much different than any before it with face masks, social distancing and smaller crowds serving as the order of the day. The event’s concluding sale, held Saturday at the Cleburne Conference Center, was much the same with a fair share of bidding conducted online so as minimize crowd size.
This year’s show nonetheless featured 1,613 entries ranging from livestock to wood and metal projects to baked goods, President of the Johnson County Livestock Agricultural Association Mark McClure said.
“These kids are our future and they enjoy some of the best times of their lives working on these projects,” McClure said. “That’s why, when there were questions of if or how this year’s event was going to happen that it’s so important that we thank the city and county officials and others who helped make this happen this year.”
“There was never any real doubt this was going to happen,” Woolley said. “It was just a question of when and how we were going to put together this show. That’s why it’s so important that so many stepped up to make this happen. We’ve never done things this way before but we’re going to make it work.”
Work it did, for the most part, Woolley said two days after the sale.
“Things went pretty well all things considered,” Woolley said. “We had some highs and lows, which is typical of any show and sale. I haven’t heard final numbers yet but so far I’m hearing around $380,000 and, of course, we still have a lot of add ons coming in, which will bring that total up some.
“So we won’t have a final number for a bit. Obviously it’s down some from previous years, but, at the end of the day, not as far as some were anticipating. Some were projecting 50 percent of normal from previous years but we’re obviously going to do better than that. Last year was about $571,000 and that was down some from the previous year. Two years before that we topped $600,000.”
This year’s show and sale needed to move forward, Woolley said.
“So many cancellations of other shows and that’s unfortunate because these kids just want to show their projects they’ve been working on all year,” Woolley said.
Statewide, the Fort Worth Stock Show has been canceled but, as of now, most of the major shows such as San Antonio, Houston, Austin, San Angelo and Kerrville remain on.
“I hope with the vaccines coming available this virus starts to subside and things get back to normal for next year’s show,” Woolley said. “Everybody does.”
McClure paused before the sale began to honor JCLAA volunteer Jon Thetford, who passed away in March.
Through the years Thetford was often the engine behind JCLAA’s success, McClure said.
“We dedicate this show to Jon who for decades volunteered and held officer positions,” McClure said. “When you think of Jon you think of all the work and effort he put in to support our kids through the years. His memory will live on forever in the lives he’s touched.”
With that the sale kicked off, starting with Mason Grady of Grandview 4-H’s grand champion market steer, which sold for $6,000.
Next came Grandview FFA member James Key whose grand champion market lamb realized $3,000.
Grandview 4-H member Brandon White’s grand champion market goat sold for $3,000 as well.
Rio Vista FFA member Caleb Webb’ grand champion market rabbit fetched $2,400.
Molly McClure of Friendship 4-H had the grand champion market broiler, which went for $1,750.
Mason McClure, also of Friendship 4-H, was the grand champion in the meat turkey division. McClure’s turkey brought $1,750.
Grady returned to the stage for the sale of his grand champion market swine, which sold for $2,900.
Grandview 4-H member Bodie Shipman’s grand champion beef heifer sold for $3,100.
Rio Vista FFA member Jaedyn McPherson won grand champion in the dairy cattle division and realized $4,250 in her sale.
Friendship 4-H member Decara Hemsath won grand champion in breeding rabbits. Her’s sold for $1.500 in the sale.
Grandview FFA member Bryson Edrington won grand champion in metal works. His project went for $2,000.
Godley FFA member Andi Burks won grand champion in wood works, which brought $2,405 in Saturday’s sale.
Alvarado FFA member Addison Crumpton also won grand champion in wood works. Her project realized $1,500.
Likewise, Thomas Stevens and Clayton West, both of Godley FFA, won grand champion in metal works. Their project sold for $2,050.