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Livestock auction breaks La Plata County Fair sales record

Swine, goats, sheep and beef: Local companies pay top dollar to support good cause
J. Paul Brown, a rancher and former legislator, searches for bidders in the crowd during the 2020 La Plata County Fair Junior Auction. At this year’s fair, a 266-pound pig sold for $24 a pound to Basin Coop. (Durango Herald file)

The 4-H Junior livestock auction broke a La Plata County Fair record this year bringing in around $580,000.

That is $75,000 more than 2021’s record, which came in at $505,000.

“It was amazing,” said La Plata County Fair Board Treasurer Sheryl Ayers. “I think it went so high because our community is so generous.”

The auction featured 107 items in various livestock classes, leathercrafts, baked goods and more.

This year’s top buyers included Best Western Rio Grande, Konisto Cos., Garrhs Heating and Air, Coca Cola, Red Cedar Gathering and C&J Gravel. Those buyers paid between $24,000 and $43,000 for various items during the auction.

One heifer sold for $9.25 per pound, or just over $12,000 for the 1,300-pound cow, which was sold to Easy Water LLC.

The most expensive beef item went for $14 per pound. At 1,163 pounds, the animal sold for $16,282 to Red Cedar Gathering.

“Every animal that sold was notable because for the people who were selling them, it’s their reward,” Ayers said. “This livestock auction has helped a lot of kids go to college, but they also use it to purchase next year’s animal, or animals, or use it to pay off their feed bill.”

She said some businesses such as Basin Coop Inc. will allow kids to charge feed to the store and then pay off their feed bill once they’ve sold their animals.

For goats, the most expensive per pound animal was sold at $50 per pound at 61 pounds, rounding out to just more than $3,000. It was purchased by TBK Bank.

The most expensive sheep sold for $40 per pound at 150 pounds, totaling about $6,000, and was purchased by Konisto, a local solar contractor.

In the swine auction, Summit Supply bought a 234-pound pig at $24 per pound totaling $5,616, while Basin Coop purchased a 266-pound pig at $24 per pound totaling $6,384.

While poultry was not in attendance because of avian influenza, they were still sold at the auction. Children presented poultry via Zoom and through photos. The champion turkey sold for $800, while the champion poultry pen including three chickens sold for $1,950 ($650 each).

Long Shot Concrete bought the reserve champion rabbit pen for $1,650 ($550 each).

Halle Moore, the cake decorating champion, sold her cake for $750. The purchaser wins the ability to have a cake decorated for an event of his or her choosing.

“The champion ones (cakes) are made on Styrofoam anyway, so they don’t just start sagging after five or six days,” Ayers said.

Ayers said more money from the auction is coming through “add-ons.” Add-ons are donations offered to youth sellers, usually by businesses or organizations, to acknowledge their efforts. It is often done when a business does not want to give all of its money to one person.

The donations tend to range from $10 to $500 per person.

“Someone may give three different people $500 add-ons, and so their total check is $1,500,” Ayers said. “And that’s just extra money that the individual gets, in addition to whatever they got from the sale.”


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