Melanie Salazar: Freedom Newspapers
Wallets and cage doors came open Saturday evening at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds, as the Junior Livestock Auction got underway at 6 p.m., featuring 54 exhibitors and 54 of the best animals in the fair. Parents, business owners and local residents filled the arena, ready to examine the scene and watch members of local 4-H and Future Farmers of America groups, as well as a handful from the Baptist Children’s Home, show off their talents and animals for a little bit of cash.
At the podium was auctioneer Arkie Kiehne, who took on the fast-paced evening that brought all of the exhibitors a total of $138,000.
The first, Lynn Pinedo, set quite the stage for his fellow exhibitors to follow as he sold his heifer for $7,000. Though challenged, this total would never be quite matched.
Pinedo, of the Portales FFA organization, said he’s been involved in the fair since he was 8 years old, and was quite pleased with his success in this year’s auction.
“It’s a lot of fun and it gets me more money for college,” he said.
But spending his time caring for farm animals isn’t all fun and games.
“It’s hard to pick out and buy them,” he said. “It takes a lot to take care of an animal.”
Rewarding kids for their hard work and dedication is the idea behind the auction, said to Junior Livestock Sales Committee member Terry Cone.
“It shows them that their hard work is rewarded when they make a sale,” he said.
Working behind the scenes of the Junior Livestock Auction since the 1970s, Cone said a lot of exhibitors use the money they receive for college or trade school, while others may use it to help them purchase their next animal. Either way, it’s an investment in the future.
“This is an investment in the 4-H and FFA kids of Roosevelt County,” he said. “It’s to help them further their education and help pay for future projects.”
Mike Mitchell, bidding for MM Bar Dairy, said he supported the cause for a few reasons.
“We have a dairy and we wanted to buy a heifer because [the exhibitor] from the children’s home,” he said. “I hope they use it for college.”
While the money may be good, Cone said kids get more than just that out of the experience.
“It teaches kids a lesson. When first-year feeders sell, they have to give up something in life that they really love,” he said. “It starts out teaching the lessons of life.”