Auction taste of ranch business

Clayton Montague, 14, of Clovis, smiles as he watches the bidding on his dairy heifer during the Jr. Livestock Sale Friday at the Curry County Fair. Montague’s heifer sold for $3,200. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Even though the cow she raised sometimes nibbled on her hair, Chelsea Hinrichs suffered a little heartache when she had to sell it. That was the first time the Texico 14-year-old traded an animal for money in the annual Curry County Junior Livestock sale.

Friday night, the 4-H competitor completed her sixth year of participation in the sale. An hour before the sale began, she patted her 535-pound, black Chianina steer on its backside, not too sad about the prospect of giving up the animal she alternately likens to a big puppy and a demanding baby.
“My dad said not to be sad, because the money goes towards college,” Hinrichs said.

Dozens of business representatives and area residents gathered at the Curry County Kevin Roberts Show Arena to shower the area’s youngest agriculturists, such as Hinrichs, with money. Most youthful aggies said the cash will be set aside for college, or invested in more livestock.

“The sale brings together the agriculture community with the business community,” said fair board member Brenda Bollinger.

The sale, featuring swine, rabbits, hens, heifers, sheep, and others, grows each year, according to 4-H parent and Junior Livestock Sale committee member Carl Hahn, in part because of committee efforts to promote the sale. But Hahn said at the heart of the show is a “generational” tradition. He said he competed in the 4-H show as a young boy, now his child does, and said Hahn, many of today’s donors were once competitors.

“It helps support 4-H in Curry County and allocates money for scholarships, as well as creating a fellowship among business people,” Hahn said. “And,” he added jovially, “It’s fun.”

A look behind the sale scene, however, reveals what most know — the agriculture business is far from just fun and games. The majority of the show’s animals, with the exception of steers and heifers, are purchased in the spring and raised carefully, developing mass and muscle for the show, said Melrose agriculture teacher, Miles Mitchell. The animals up for sale, he said, are the chosen by fair judges.

The black-face lamb Shay Dow auctioned Friday sold for $1,900. The Clovis 11-year-old spent months preparing for the show, practicing the proper way to display the sheep for judging, in which its head must be held in an upright position.

“It’s a good learning experience for her,” said Dow’s grandmother, Sheresa Lea, as she brushed her granddaughter’s hair before the show began, later snapping photos of Dow in the showing ring.

Some of Friday’s most generous donors were Joe’s Boot Shop and One Stop Feed, both shops making multiple purchases. Among the most successful moneymakers was Taryn Allen of Texico, who pulled in $8,250 for his massive 1,227-pound, reserve champion dairy heifer.

Today
• 8 a.m. — Arena Cross Qualifying Races, Mounted Patrol Arena
• 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Youth Day activities
• 9 a.m. — 6th Annual Great American Turtle Race, Kevin Roberts Show Arena
• 9 a.m. — Open class poultry judging, poultry and rabbit barn
• 10 a.m. — Old-timer Celebration, Indoor Pavilion
• 10 a.m. — Mixed teams horseshoe pitching contest, West of Old House
• Noon — Old-timer Celebration, Indoor Pavilion
• 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Christian Gospel music show, Kevin Roberts Show Arena
• 7:30 p.m. — Arena-cross finals, Mounted Patrol Area
• 8 p.m. — Kyle Wyley Concert, entertainment area