Nevada County Fairgrounds’ online auction runs until Saturday
The 2020 Nevada County Fair Online Junior Livestock and Ag Mechanics Auction, hosted by the Nevada County Fairgrounds, kicked off Thursday morning and will continue until Saturday.
The auction, normally an in-person event held as a part of the annual Nevada County Fair, moved online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting cancellation of the fair.
People can access the auction at: https://auction.showorks.cloud/fair/ncfair.
In addition to bidding on animals and projects, community members will be able to contribute donations to participating youth — an “Add On” bid to support an individual, or a “Community Pool” bid which will go toward all participants.
The event will end with a 90-second closing interval for each lot, a process set to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
In a press release, fairgrounds staff described the auction as “(representing) the culmination of a long year of work and dedication by FFA, 4-H, and independent youth exhibitors.”
According to Fairgrounds CEO Patrick Eidman, there are 202 registered auction lots this year, consisting of 182 market animals and 20 agricultural mechanics projects. For comparison, there were 283 auction lots in 2019.
In this year’s virtual format, rather than prepare an animal for display in a show ring, youth exhibitors produced 90-second videos and collections of photographs to show off their animal. Eidman said the participants took this new task in stride, almost all sending in submissions and information on time.
“This is the first time we’ve done an online sale, so we were all sitting by the computer with our breath held at 9 o’clock, and it’s operated beautifully so far. We’re really happy with the platform,” said Eidman.
As of Thursday afternoon, only a few hours after the auction opened for bidding, Eidman said the highest bids totaled $60,000. Last year’s auctions grossed a record-breaking $736,000.
“There is still lots of opportunity for people to get in there and bid until Saturday, but starting with numbers that high, I’m feeling pretty positive about where we’ll end up,” he said, adding that other fairs and online auction consultants have indicated that most heavy bidding occurs toward the end as lots are closing.
Eidman said one of the biggest challenges in hosting the auction in this format has been communication with buyers regarding all of the changes involved, and distributing effective information on how to log into the auction to participate. Beginning Thursday, however, staff and volunteers have been at the fairgrounds ready to answer the phone calls of anyone needing support in registering or navigating the auction platform.
Recalling monitoring the auction’s progress, and watching the incoming bids go up, Eidman said, “It’s really exciting to see that the kids will be rewarded for their hard work, and that the community is still turning out as different as this year looks, and we appreciate all the buyers.”
A HUGE RELIEF
Following a period of uncertainty as to whether any auction would be possible at the fairgrounds, participants were relieved to have the online outlet to show off and auction their livestock and projects.
“We were worried there for a second, because we put in so much work for nine months of the year, every day. It was super tough to raise the steer,” said Gavin Mulcy, a member of Clear Creek 4-H and first-time participant in the fair’s livestock auction.
Gavin said he thought it would be tough to have the auction without buyers getting to see the steer in person, but that the situation seems to have turned out fine in the end. “It’s a huge relief,” he said.
Emmalee Oistad, an incoming junior in Nevada Union High School’s FFA, said she is glad to be able to sell her agricultural mechanics project — two antler and redwood table lamps — and a hog she’s been raising for four months. She has been participating in the fairgrounds’ auction for six years.
“I feel like they made it as simple as it could have been,” Emmalee said in reference to the transition to an online auction. “They sent us a lot of information on what we needed to do, and it was very detailed.”
“Luckily, because of our very helpful 4-H leader, it was a pretty easy conversion to the online process,” said Sally Heer, whose daughters Clara and Hailey have entered goats into the auction. “But, we are extremely missing being there in person.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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