PASO ROBLES — It was a busy day for Carly Wheeler at Saturday’s annual Junior Livestock Auction at the California Mid-State Fair.
Wheeler, of Santa Lucia 4-H, sold three animals during the Showcase of Champions Sale for a grand total of $30,629.
Her Supreme Champion Steer went for $12 per pound for a total of $16,200, the highest of the day, to Cal Coast Machinery. Wheeler also sold the animal that received the highest per pound price — $43 from Tom Corea Construction for her Reserve Supreme Champion Market Goat.
Her Reserve Supreme Champion Heifer was sold for $10,000 to Fresh Foods Inc.
It continued to be a good day for the Wheeler family as her brother Braden sold his Reserve Champion Steer for $11 a pound ($14,773 total) to Electrotec Enterprises Inc. and Tim Corea Construction Inc.
In general it was a profitable day for the county’s youth as buyers continued to support their efforts — $2.2 million was raised at the Junior Livestock Auction.
That total is likely to rise slightly as the fair continues to tabulate add-ons, which are basically donations to the auction.
Unofficially, the 2018 total was slightly more than the $2.1 million total from the 2017 livestock auction that saw 850 animals sold. This year 871 animals were sold at auction, including 462 hogs, 186, lambs, 85 heifers, 73 steers, 53 meat goats and four each rabbit, turkey, and poultry meat pens.
Mitch Ardantz, one of the managing partners of Betteravia Farms, spent the day bidding on and successfully buying several animals throughout the auction. He received thank you gifts and hugs from some of the young 4-H and FFA members.
“It’s all about the kids,” Ardantz said of why he and others support the auction year after year. “It’s a great learning experience for them. If anybody has witnessed how hard they work, it’s a no-brainer really.”
One of those hard-working kids was Morgan Schimmelpfenning, of Atascadero FFA. The soon-to-be junior sold her hog Simba and her heifer Nala on Saturday.
“It makes me feel like I am part of a larger community,” she said of participating in the auction. “It tells me that all of my hard work is not going to waste.”
Her hog was the FFA Champion Duroc and her heifer placed third in class. This was her second year showing animals at the fair and she said it was a rewarding endeavor she plans to continue.
“Being able to say you did it all by yourself is really empowering,” she said. “Because it’s a hard thing to do.”
She plans to use some of the money to fund next year’s animals and to purchase a car.
In addition to the junior livestock auction, $175,000 was raised in remembrance of the late Hugh Pitts, one of the fair’s longtime supporters. All of the proceeds from the memorial auction went to the CMSF Heritage Foundation that raises money for scholarships and fair capital projects. When the total reached $85,000, the James Brabeck Foundation matched it. The lamb that was auctioned off was donated to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo.
In the morning the market hogs were auctioned followed by the market poultry, rabbits, steers, goats and lambs in the afternoon session.
The Showcase of Champions Sale was sandwiched between the two sessions and featured the sale of the Supreme and Reserve Supreme animals from the judging earlier in the week.
Borjon Auto bought Templeton FFA’s Logan Tucker’s Supreme Champion Heifer for $8,000.
Kylie Aronsen of Cerro Alto 4-H sold her Supreme Champion Hog to MGE Underground for $27 a pound ($7,263 total).
Rachel Wilkins of Lockwood 4-H sold her Supreme Champion Meat Pen of Rabbits for $2,400 to Borjon Auto Center, Boneso Brothers Construction Inc., Adamski, Moroski, Madden, Cumberland and Green.
The Supreme Champion Market Goat of Kendall Savage of Chaparral 4-H was sold for $30 a pound ($2,400 total) to Chad and Kaitlin Wittsrom, California Compaction Equipment, John Vineyard Applications Inc., Adamski, Moroski, Madden, Cumberland and Green, and Tony Domingos Farming.
Aeven Sylvester of Canyon Country 4-H sold his Supreme Champion Market Broilers for $2,000 to Tony Domingos Farming, JD Farming, Central Coast Equipment Repair, Chad and Kaitlin Wittsrom, California Compaction Equipment, and John Vineyard Applications Inc. His Supreme Champion Market Turkey was bought by Chalk Mountain Golf Course for $1,600.
WC Davis Farms, Bozzano and Company, JD Farming and Treana Winery purchased the Supreme Champion Market Lamb of Carissa Plains 4-H’s Tyler Puentes for $41 a pound ($5,822 total).