By Christina Calloway
Between the loud cheering and toe tapping that matched the auctioneer’s rhythm, if audience members paid attention, they might have known they were being fooled by Tayler Fraze’s confident smile.
While the 16-year-old reigned supreme as the steer grand champion at the Roosevelt County Fair, she said it was an emotional time for her because she’s approaching her last year in 4-H.
“The older I get, the more I realize I have fewer chances to do this,” Fraze said. “It’s hard not to cry.”
Fraze was one of 59 Roosevelt County 4-H youth who participated in the 25th annual Roosevelt County Junior Livestock Sale Friday night at the fair, an event that honors area youth for their hard work by letting them auction off their animals.
Community members made up of business owners, organizations and residents show support by acting as buyers. According to the Junior Livestock Sale board, the students collectively made $164,550 Friday before add-ons, leftover bidder money added to sales. Last year the students raised a little more than $250,000.
It wasn’t all tears for Fraze Friday night because she knows she’s passing on the 4-H spirit to her 14-year-old sister Toree Fraze and together the pair showed that this year it was all about girl power. Toree Fraze won grand champion in the Market Lamb Show.
The sisters, who participate in Arch’s 4-H Club, keep a level-head with all of their success because that’s what 4-H has taught them.
“You just got to go out there and have fun,” said Toree. “The feeling of winning, it’s indescribable, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Candice Varnell also carried a girl power theme to the arena and took it to the next level by selling her goat in a Superman costume. The 9-year-old Faith Triumphant student also put a cape on her goat to stay with the theme.
“My mom said it would help (push) people (to) buy my goat,” Varnell said. “I was doing it and having fun.”
Kaull Burton, 13, got teased by the auctioneers for being a lady’s man. After selling his Hampshire pig for $3,000, he said he might be able to treat some girls to a couple of sodas but most of his money will go to buying pig feed because he said 4-H has taught him responsibility.
“I like being able to come to the fair,” Burton said. When he isn’t in 4-H mode, he enjoys riding the fair rides.
Anthony Dockter sold his three chickens for $2,100, a pretty penny for a 9-year-old, but he’s only using it as an investment for next year.
“Next year I want to show a pig and a chicken,” Dockter said, still running off the energy from a successful sale. “I love animals because they’re fuzzy.”
Greg Smith said the children were the prime reason he founded the sale 25 years ago. As president of the sale, he hopes to see it continue and prosper.
“The program has grown from a $55,000 sale in the beginning to over $250,000 last year,” Smith said. “It has helped many Roosevelt County youth the past 25 years. I hope to see the sale continue and stabilize at its size and scope and continue to support the county’s 4-H and FFA programs.”