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Elk Grove Citizen

Making the Sale at Livestock Auction

May 29, 2024 05:02PM ● By Matthew Malone
County Fair Junior Livestock Auction [7 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - Months of hard work for Elk Grove agriculture students paid off on May 26 as they sold hand-raised livestock at the Sacramento County Fair Junior Livestock Auction.  
The auction buildings at Cal Expo were abuzz with activity on auction day, as exhibitors prepared their animals for their moment in the spotlight, spectators and bidders milled around for a good view of the auction ring, and auctioneers pattered through hundreds of entries from across the region.
Local students whose animals were named supreme champion in their category were Elk Grove FFA’s Julia Bacon with a rabbit meat pen and Kris Johnson with a market rabbit; Florin FFA’s Kamaldeep Dhanoa with a market turkey; Pleasant Grove FFA’s Braedyn Brown with a market steer, and Robert Goldthorpe with a chicken meat pen; Bradshaw 4-H’s Emree Lauer with market eggs; and Franklin 4-H’s Lauren Tadman with a market hog.
Dozens of other local students were also recognized for the quality of their livestock.
Additionally, Joy Stewart of Pleasant Grove FFA and Hailey Borges of Sheldon 4-H won belt buckles for demonstrating their livestock knowledge in the Purple Circle Sweepstakes.
Among the bidders was Sacramento County Supervisor Pat Hume, who said he planned to bid on several lambs and goats. He selects students based on letters that some send him before the auction, as well as by checking with local FFAs and 4-Hs to learn which students might need some financial help.
“I like to support these programs because it teaches kids responsibility and character and, hopefully, a little bit about agriculture so they see the value in putting food on our plates,” Hume said.
The Citizen spoke to students who raised steer, some of whom talked about how an animal’s personality can change the difficulty of their project.
Abigail Ritchie of Pleasant Grove FFA was happy in the morning to see that her steer was where she left him the night before.
“Sometimes, steers escape during tie-out so it was nice that he was where he’s supposed to be,” Ritchie said. “But he’s been walking good. He hasn’t had any tantrums today. My last year’s steer dragged me around after the auction, so I’m excited that didn’t happen this year.”
Ritchie highlighted the 1,240-pound steer’s recognition as reserve champion in the angus division because it was a ranch calf, not bred for show quality.
From Elk Grove FFA, Brianna Kneppel’s 1,369-pound steer earned her FFA reserve grand champion, among the best in species at the fair. Although she received a higher rank last year, grand champion, Kneppel said the latest distinction was “such an accomplishment” because of how much work she needed to put in.
“This year, I worked especially hard because I started off with a really rough steer. He was not the nicest, and I definitely put time and dedication into this steer,” Kneppel said. “This year, I struggled with him not wanting to walk or being aggressive, such as trying to head-butt me or charge at me.”
Kneppel said she deals with bad behavior by taking a moment to breathe, exercise patience and reduce stress. She looked forward to getting a new steer to raise around October.
Animal husbandry immediately hooked Kneppel when she started raising sheep with 4-H at age 9. She hoped to pursue the field after high school and eventually “raise a whole herd of show cattle that I can pass down to younger generations so that others, too, can fulfill their show needs.”