Livestock auction ends traditional fair activities
By Thorn Compton
RAWLINS — With all the rodeos done, all the cattle and swine and goats shown, all the chickens and rabbits judged, the finale of all fair activities was held on Friday for the Carbon County Fair — the Livestock Sale Auction.
Months of time and effort breeding and raising livestock by kids as young as 8 all came to a head as they walked their animals around in a circle while the auctioneer shouted prices at lightning speed.
The ultimate goal is to sell your livestock for as much as possible, but there is a bittersweet feeling watching something that has become part of your life for almost a full year auctioned off to their inevitable end.
Wyatt Cox, 17, of Encampment, has raised steer for his entire 4-H career, and said the feeling in the pit of your stomach as your animal is sold off is something that is always hard to get over.
“It’s still kind of hard,” Cox said after his ninth year of participating in the Fair, “but depending on who buys it and how much it goes for, it makes it easier.”
Tyson Cobb, from Savery, participated in his final Fair this week as he heads off to college in a few weeks. He also has raised steer for the last nine years, after starting his 4-H career raising a pig.
“The first few years I really hurt, it hits you right at home,” Cobb said of having to sell his livestock to slaughter. “Heck, they become part of your life. You learn to get attached to them but I guess not emotionally attached because you know at the end of the day what’s going to happen.”
Raising a steer is different than raising other livestock, both Cobb and Cox said. With a steer, you spend eight to nine months taking care of them almost every day. Pigs and goats you don’t spend as much time with, and with chickens and rabbits you can raise multiple at a time.
“I think of it as you might have saved its life for a little longer,” Cobb said. “If it went to the feed lot it would have been butchered a couple weeks ago. You prolong its life and give it your personal care, making its life a little better.”
The best way to move on, Cox said, is to stop focusing on the steer you just rose and go ahead and start looking toward next year’s fair.
“You think about them being sold off quite a bit, but you forget about it after about a week,” Cox said. “By then you are looking for a new steer already and trying to get ready for next fair.”
Though the journey can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, after his final year in fair Cobb said he would encourage any younger kid who is interested to get involved with 4-H.
“Have fun with it, it flies by,” Cobb said after preparing his steer to be sold. “These ten years have gone by fast. Jut have fun, learn what you can do and listen to what people have to tell you about how to raise your livestock better.”