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Junior Livestock Auction rewards hard work

Strong smells and long hours don't deter local 4-H and Future Farmers of America members.

Their payoff comes around this time yearly at the Clallam County Junior Livestock Auction for the county fair.

Gena Royal, Clallam County 4-H Program Coordinator, said in the auction's 17 years, 2008 was their most lucrative as youth participants earned more than $100,000.

She said the amount is deceiving because participant's money goes toward future livestock projects, vet checkups, feed and savings for college and/or a first car.

Youth must maintain a high level of maintenance on their projects, and all auction animals must meet these requirements:

_ Enroll in the appropriate market project and meet requirements for showing at the county fair.

_ Hold a mandatory parent meeting informing parents of auction requirements and expectations.

_ Pass the "Quality Assurance" exam after learning about responsible handling, veterinary practices, and customer satisfaction.

_ Write personal letters to potential bidders.

_ Participate in the annual drawing organized by the CCJLA committee to raise funds for awards, scholarships and auction expenses.



Participation

Each year, 40 to 50 youth participate in the auction ranging from Forks to

Sequim.

Ruminta Carpenter, 19, has sold animals for eight years in the auction. This will be her last fair as a 4-H participant.

"What haven't I learned from doing this?" Carpenter said.

"It's really matured me a lot."

She has put her livestock money towards projects and college, and she now attends Peninsula College to pursue an associate's degree.

Carpenter even met her best friend, Kendra Zellar, 17, in the Clallam County Fair's sheep barn nine years ago.

"It's because of 4-H that we're best friends," Carpenter said.

Between the two friends and Carpenter's sister, Bayleigh, 10, they will be selling the only four sheep at the auction.

"It's sad there's not as much there as we'd like," Leslie Carpenter, Ruminta and Bayleigh's mother said.



Hard to find

hardworking youths

"It's hard to find kids who want to do the work," Zellar said.

Youth are allowed to enter two animals, such as a steer and sheep, or one larger animal and one pen of animals like three chickens.

Participants who raise steer and cattle will purchase their animals in October and work with them till the fair begins ten months later.

Amy Tucker, 10, raised pigs for her first year in the auction.

"They are fun to play with but a challenge to show and train though," she said.

Tucker intends to sell her two pigs, Basil and Dozer, so that she can raise future baby pigs from her sow, Spotty.

Tucker will then sell the pigs to fellow 4-H members Colby, 12, and Broden, 4, Beckstrom for projects of their own.

Tucker and Colby's pigs will weigh about 260 to 300 pounds when entered at the auction.

Colby has raised pigs for eight years and will be selling R.J. and Stella from his farm.

"Every pig has a different personality," Colby said.

All the youths agreed that they are looking forward to the fair and the opportunity to show the community how far they've come in raising animals for the year.

"You get to talk to people and educate those who aren't around these animals everyday," Zellar said.

"The worst part is when fair is over."



Auction history

The Clallam County Junior Livestock Auction began in 1991 and is operated by an independent committee of 4-H and FFA members.

More than 600 youth have participated and sold more than 1,200 animals in the auction's history.

They can begin selling in the auction at grade three but can show and raise animals beginning in kindergarten.

Royal said many of the purchased animals have been donated to the local food bank.

Several awards are available to high school seniors, including for those with the best-rate-of-gain animal.

Those who support the auction by pre-registering to bid will receive free entry to the fairgrounds and more.

Individuals can support the auction as an individual, a business, as a group or by donation.

For more information call the 4-H office at 417-2398.



Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.



Meet the Meat

What: Clallam County Junior Livestock Auction

When: 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 22

Where: Clallam County Fairgrounds, 1608 W. 16 St., Port Angeles; small arena by pig barn

Who to call: Call the 4-H office at 417-2398 for

pre-registration



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