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This week the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds will be buzzing with the activity of hundreds of local and visiting youth as they prepare to show and sell at the annual Junior Livestock Show and Auction.
Residents have an opportunity to join in the festivities as spectators at the shows and as buyers at the live auction to be held at 6 p.m. this Saturday.
Beginning Wednesday, more than 250 students, representing about 10 different 4-H clubs and Future Farmer of America organizations will be showing and selling hundreds of animals they have painstakingly raised and cared for over the past several months.
â€śCommunity support is what these kids need,â€ť said Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair CEO Sally Symons. â€śMost of these kids, their first year, they borrow from the bank of mom and dad. And after the first year, they use that (money they make from the auction) as seed money for next year. And most of these kids are college bound, or otherwise have a plan,â€ť and much of the money raised at the annual auction goes towards tuition and the pursuit of higher education.
The event kicks off at 8 a.m. Wednesday, with younger 4-H members showing rabbits and poultry. â€śStuff will be going on show-wise all week, beginning on Wednesday,â€ť Symons said. â€śAnd itâ€™s great for the kids to have an audience.â€ť (See schedule on pg. 15.)
There are two show classes the students participate in: market class and the showmanship class.
Symons explained that in the market class, judges evaluate the animals the students raised, with their decisions based on desirable traits for animals going to market.
The showmanship class judges the youth based on their presence in the arena, and their ability to exhibit their animals.
Symons said that the top two winners from each class are eligible to enter the master showman competition to be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday. That contest, Symons explained, has each participant showing swine, sheep and beef. â€śA lot of people work during the day and a lot of the shows are during business hours. So the master showman event is perfect, because it has a little of everythingâ€ť for the spectators to see, and itâ€™s held after work on Friday. â€śItâ€™s everything in one evening,â€ť Symons said.
The famed Junior Livestock Auction gives residents and local markets the opportunity to purchase fresh, locally raised meat. At the live auction, competitors will be selling beef, lamb, swine and turkeys. Symons explained that most participants spend three months tending to their animals daily, and anyone who has purchased fresh meat from a junior livestock exhibitor can taste the difference.
For those who donâ€™t have the appetite or refrigerator and freezer space to purchase a full animal at the auction, Symons said proxy buying is available. Residents can simply stop by the fairgrounds on Sierra Street in Bishop and tell the proxy buyers how much they want to spend and what they want to buy to purchase a portion of an animal.
Symons also said residents can also donate money to specific kids who are participating in the auction. â€śSome people just want to support the kids,â€ť she said.
Symons also said that the Tri-County Fairgrounds is still raising money to cover the cost of hiring out-of-the-area judges to oversee the competition, and to pay for prizes for the top showers.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Junior Livestock Show and Auction is invited to call the fairgrounds at (760) 873-3588, or stop by the fair office on Sierra Street in Bishop.