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Junior Livestock Auction displays dedication of youth at Nevada County Fair

Nathan Ramey, 10, shears his lamb with Daniel Ramey, 17, assisting. The Rameys are among dozens of families preparing for their animals for show and Sunday's Junior Livestock Auction at the.Nevada County Fair.
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union

Know & Go

What: Nevada County Fair Junior Livestock Auction

When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10

Where: Magonigal Sale Ring, Nevada County Fairgrounds.

More info: http://www.NevadaCountyFair.com

Along with the thrilling rides, the tempting food of “Treat Street” and the opportunity to try your luck with carnival games, one of the most time-honored traditions of the Nevada County Fair are the dozens of young people presenting the animals they’ve raised in the annual Junior Livestock Auction.

Involving young people ranging in age from 5 to 19 years old, the livestock auction grants an opportunity to sell an animal they have worked with for hours at time, over days, weeks and months to be properly prepared for show. Through training, feeding, and preparing for competition, 4-H organizers say children learn responsibility by taking care of the animal through the every-day tasks they face.

Over the years, they typically work their way up to the larger animals such as beef, but the younger children often begin with a small amount of responsibility with an animal on a smaller scale, like working with chickens and selling their eggs to eventually raising small animals such as rabbits.



The Junior Livestock Auction also is an opportunity to bring the community together in support of such programs, often bolstered by the bidding of local businesses and their owners.

“I think every jurisdiction (in Nevada County) would say, ‘We are all short of facilities.’ Every new opportunity would benefit the community as a whole.”
Tim Kiser
Grass Valley public works director.

“(It is an) amazing thing to see the community come together,” said 4-H Junior County Coordinator Hannah Bousfield.




The auction receives a substantial amount of support from the community, one source being the participation of local businesses. Their active involvement allows young people an opportunity to interact with and get to know these business owners, connecting the younger generation with the working world. In addition, both the auction and interaction with businesses offers an opportunity to develop important skills such as public speaking, especially through the showmanship part of the auction.

“You develop a lot of discipline, (especially with the larger animals),” Bousfield said.

Numerous animals offer options for raising, showing and selling. Although beef might bring the most responsibility and the most money, other additional possibilities include swine, goat, lamb, turkey, rabbit and chicken. The auction not only teaches the steps of raising an animal, but also provides knowledge on current research in health and welfare of their type of animal, preventing disease, and the type of meat the market is both carrying and looking for.

“In the day and age we live, I think it is important for people to know that these FFA and 4-H animals are pampered,” said Sue Ramey, assistant leader for Chicago Park 4-H Club.

The Ramey family has been involved with local 4-H youth development for more than 50 years. The tradition has spanned generations, including the grandchildren of Sue Ramey and her husband, Joe.

“I have been really proud of my son,” said Christina Ramey, who is watching her own child raise an animal for the first time. “He has been really responsible.”

The Junior Livestock Auction will begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, but the animals can be viewed ahead of time at the Nevada County Fairgrounds barn areas, or in other competitions throughout the week. Prices vary for each type of animal considering their size. For example, beef can be purchased for an around $4,500 — including the estimated cost to butcher — while chickens are estimated to be purchased for $150.

“I hope to get enough money to continue (participating in the auction each year),” said Chicago Park 4-H member Rachel Bousfield, when talking about her goals for the auction.

The auction will be held at the Whitney Pavilion where buyers can register for the auction and get their bidding number. There will also be a buyers breakfast and lunch available before and during the auction, as well as a Fur and Feather’s Silent Auction running concurrently next door. Those who purchase an animal will also receive free admission to the county fair the morning of the auction, as well as certain benefits for next year’s fair including complimentary parking and admission passes for the Junior Livestock Auction.

Taia Greco is a Ghidotti Early College High School senior serving as an intern at The Union.


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