Gila County teens and youths had to forgo so much this year: school and sports, academic clubs and friends -- movies and dinner out. Consider the additional stress dealt to the 4-H and FFA participants who invested money, time and energy into raising pigs, goats, sheep and cattle -- then faced with announcement that the Gila County Fair would be cancelled, for the first time in its 50 year history.
So here’s one piece of welcome good news in a year marked by cancellation and disappointment: Gila County Fair and 4-H and FFA organizers scrambled to arrange for a virtual livestock show and an online livestock auction to be held on Sept. 26, 2020.
More than 50 pre-registered bidders competed last year - and new buyers will definitely be welcome, to help make the 2020 auction a big success. You’re interested, but don’t have room in your freezer for a whole hog or goat, or beef? Now is the time to rally a group of friends or coworkers, pool your money and plan freezer space - and join the auction to compete for Grade-A livestock raised right here in Gila County.
National presidential conventions went virtual last month, so too does our local livestock auction.
Organizers contracted a nationally-known and certified virtual stock show company with a proven track record helping Arizona 4-H chapters at the local level have successful, professional auctions. Much of the experience for bidders and spectators will feel similar to last year’s auction, with 4-H and FFA kids dressed appropriately in their chapter colors and showcasing their groomed animals on video for the virtual shows, and photographs for the online auction. Some of the barnyard ambiance and aroma of the sales ring will be absent this year, but the show must go on with pre-registered bidders competing to buy Grade-A livestock on-the-hoof.
A tradition that unites generations of Gila County ranchers and 4-H families, albeit online, the virtual auction guards the health of youth participants, their parents and adult volunteers and livestock judges in keeping with federal, state and county guidelines limiting crowds and safe physical distancing.
“We’re making the best of a tough situation, and yes -- it will be different this year,” said Jacque Sanders, a longtime volunteer and Fair Board member. “Gila County is following 4-H policy from state leadership and we’re so very thankful to the faithful buyers who have generously supported our livestock auction for so many years. Here’s a special recognition to our Copper Buyers Club members including Jason Guilliam with The Plumbing Company and Guilliam Concrete, John Augustine Ranch, the Dalmolin Family (5D Mining & Construction, and Dalmolin Excavating); DJ’s Companies, Inc; Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, John & Kerstin Fowler (AZ Materials, Rockin’ 4 Cattle Company, J Bar J Cattle Company); Freeport McMoRan, Sundt Construction, Professional Piping Systems LLC, Oddonetto Construction, TriStar Industrial, J&B Trucking, McSpadden Ford, Kenny & Laurie Hawkins.”
Copper Buyers Club members listed above were the most active and competitive bidders last year, 14 amongst more than 50 registered buyers. Stats from 2019 show the average steer brought $5,856, while lambs averaged $1,501, swine $2,240, goats $1,360 and turkeys $187.
New bidders are definitely most welcome this year, this annual livestock auction is more than a chance to buy locally (and yes, lovingly) raised beef, pork and mutton, goat and turkeys - it’s also an opportunity to show our community support for student exhibitors who persevered during 2020. Read more, find auction updates at gilacountyfair.com. Buyers can bookmark the auction site bid.virtualstockshow.com, and register the week before the auction.
Other questions? Please email [email protected] for more information
And a reminder to 4-H and FFA students and families: livestock weigh-in Sept. 18-19.
Sept. 18 will be held in Payson for Tonto Basin and Payson participants, and in Young for those exhibitors.
Sept. 18 & 19 will be held in Globe.
You will be contacted about a scheduled appointment for those days; masks will be required and officials will follow CDC, city, county, state and federal covid-19 guidelines.