The Gila County Fair, cancelled due to Covid-19, was greatly missed this year. Fairgoers were left remembering fairs gone by and looking forward to fairs to come. But what did no fair mean to the hardworking young people that spent the last year raising an animal for the annual livestock auction?
With urgency, the Gila County Fair Board stepped in to remedy this issue. For the first time in the history of 4-H and FFA the auction would be virtual. “Taking our annual youth livestock auction online virtually was a tough decision, and the experience sure was different this year, but it was a genuine success, in fact, we brought in more registered buyers than last year, and auctioned more than 50 livestock including beef cattle, hogs, lambs, goats and even turkeys,” said Gila County Fair Board Co-Chairman Hannah McDaniel.
The auction managed to attract 64 registered buyers with $209,150 total sales.
“Those of us who volunteer on the auction committee and the fair board are glad we found a way to continue this tradition, one that spans several generations of ranch families throughout Gila County, and 4-H and FFA youth participants,” said McDaniel. “During this unprecedented year of Covid-19, our virtual auction engaged our youth participants, their parents, volunteers, and livestock judges, and stayed in compliance with public health guidelines that limit crowds and assure safe physical distancing.”
While the in-person excitement and barnyard aroma of the live auction that has been a tradition for decades was missed, this online event focused on the youth and managed to keep everyone safe and provide a successful auction for those involved.
“Counties throughout Arizona used virtual auctions this year in order to follow 4-H policy set at the state level,” said McDaniel. “We so sincerely thank our faithful buyers who stayed with us this year, online, generously supporting the 2020 livestock auction. We couldn’t be more grateful for the support each and every one of you give.”