Heifers: Going once, going twice
Prize money donated by sponsors: $10,125Sale of Grand champion pen: $5,200 totalSale of Reserve champion pen: $5,000 totalTop sale price: $3,100 Lowest sale price: $1,300 Total sales: $172,800
Eyes darting across the crowd as he paced back and forth in front of the sale pen, Ronnie Pesek was the more enthused of the four spotters at the Victoria Livestock Show Commercial Heifer Auction on Saturday.
As the auctioneer's voice rang out under the tin shelter behind the community center, with nods, gestures and pleading looks, Pesek encouraged buyers to raise their bids.
While the other three spotters yelled out to let the auctioneer know when someone wanted to raise the bid, Pesek yelped out more of a cheer - dancing on one foot and waving his sale papers - when he saw buyers indicate they'd raise the bar.
The audience bid on 45 pens of two heifers that were shown Friday morning in the livestock show after they were introduced by Joe Jones, the foreman at Briggs Ranch.
Jones informed buyers whether a heifer was with calf or open to breed - and added a little personal background of the children who showed them.
In addition to prize money from sponsors, the children received the sale money from their heifers, less a commission that covered the pen rentals.
The animals sold in the auction Saturday are expected to be loaded up Sunday morning.
Unlike the steers that will be butchered once they are sold, the heifers are sold for breeding.
"It's kind of bittersweet to part with them. I'm glad they're going to a good home," said Breana Tater, 18, whose heifers sold for $1,700 each. "My steer is more likely to become a hamburger. But I knew from the start that he was going to die, so I'm prepared for it."
The two grand champion heifers burst into the sale pen with their calves while their proud owner, Reese Bludau, 11, held his purple grand champion banner for the audience to see.
He was followed by his big brother, Dodge Bludau, 15, who strutted out in front of the auction pen with a big grin, representing his reserve champion heifers with a pink banner.
Reese received $5,200 for his two heifers and Dodge, $5,000, and the new owners also received the heifer's calves.
"Good job, bro," said grand champion steer shower Allan Parsons, 16, as he slapped Dodge on the back after the sale. Then he shook the little brother's hand, "You did great, Reese."
After meeting with the new owners, the boys congregated with other guys who sold heifers in the auction.
While both brothers show both cows and hogs, they agreed their projects are more of a partnership than a rivalry.
"The pigs take more work," Reese said, so he prefers showing cows. But Dodge said he doesn't have a preference between cows and hogs; they are both fun in their own way.
Reese will be sad to see the heifers go, but he said this year they were kind of mean, so it isn't as hard to part with them.
"It's kinda sad to sell them since we've had them since early October," Dodge said. "But it is good knowing that they'll be better off somewhere else."
"They'll have a good home," Reese added.
Both boys will save some of the money for college and use the rest to purchase heifers to show next year.
In his third year selling heifers in the livestock show auction, Dylan Kruppa, 13, didn't want to rely alone on the sing-song voice of the auctioneers and the goading of the spotters to raise the price of his heifer.
Much to the amusement of the crowd, Dylan carried a 7-month-old baby up with him when it was time for him to represent his heifer. Dylan thought his little sister, Emersyn Grace Kruppa, may boost the sale amount.
His heifers sold for the same price as the reserve champions at $2,500 each - he thinks his little ploy may have worked.