Saturday, August 17, 2002
Hayden Chad Green's auctioneer voice repeated the numbers over, prodding people to bid higher.
"Two and a half, two and a half. Come on this girl's been working for the last nine months on this steer. Let's make it worth her while." His mouth was right against the microphone. With his goading, hands started going up and prices rose.
Janey Montieth, a 17-year-old from Hayden High School, walked away with a $4,000 bid on her Grand Champion steer. The final bid came from First National Bank of the Rockies.
Four men stood in the ring using rolled-up fliers to point to bidders and swat stubborn cattle. The steers were led around the ring so the audience could examine the confirmation of their bodies.
Months ago, during a tour of the Hayden Heritage Center Museum, Donna Hellyer said, "People move here and they don't understand what a big part agriculture has played in the building of this community."
On Saturday night, no one could ignore the importance of ranching in the future of the area.
Cassady Daley is starting young. She is a student at Yampa Elementary School and this was her first year as a full 4-H member.
She led her Reserve Grand Champion steer Buddy into the ring. Her head barely reached the steer's shoulder.
It sold for $2,100 to the Hayden Mercantile.
Kyle Woodley, 14, also raised a Reserve Grand Champion steer. He is a ninth-grader at Hayden High School. He bought the steer from his aunt and uncle in Maybell and kept it on grandparents Bill and Chelsea Barnes' land.
His steer, Little Red, was a March calf. As Woodley led the animal into the arena, its coat shone from glitter on its back. Before the sale, he hoped he would get at least $2,000 for Red. It sold for $2,200 to Steamboat Lake Marina.
The hardest thing about raising Red, Woodley said, was getting him to stand in the pen before the auction.
Red won fourth place in his class. Woodley walked away with a belt buckle along with his ribbons. This was his first year raising a steer.
He walked the animal regularly to build its muscles to the right proportions.
One might imagine that the kids have a hard time sending their animals off for meat after spending so much time raising them.
Kelsey Samuelson, who raised a Reserve Grand Champion lamb this year, said she has been doing this since she was little.
Her first year she had two lambs that were born on her birthday. She named them Helen and Kelsey after herself. That year it bothered her when she had to let them go, but these days she is used to it.
Before the auction, she tied bows on her lamb's ears so that a buyer would want her.
Her advice for anyone who decides to try raising sheep: "Have fun with it," she said. "Some people take it too seriously."