Grand, reserve champions fetch $100K at Victoria Livestock Show (Video)

March 4, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.
Updated March 4, 2013 at 9:05 p.m.

The light tan Charolais cross wasn't just a pet to 16-year-old Dustin Hempel. Between the feedings, grooming, hours spent working with him and more, the animal was a full-time responsibility.

And after months of hard work, Dustin saw a return on that investment.

The 2013 Victoria Livestock Show wrapped up Monday with an auction inside the Victoria Community Center dome. There, the Industrial High School junior took home $14,000 from Atzenhoffer Chevrolet, First Victoria National Bank, Klean Corp International and Victoria Oliver Co. for his grand champion steer.

The amount was enough to bring a smile to the teen's face.

"I'm real happy," he said, adjusting the sleeve on his teal button-down. "It's exciting."

Tommy Taylor, general manager of Atzenhoffer Chevrolet, said he was proud to be a part of the group that purchased the animal. It feels good to support the youth and to give back to the community, he said.

"It's a good cause," he said from his front-row seat. "These kids work hard on their projects all year long. It's a lot of work."

The 18 champion and reserve champion animals brought in $104,500.

Many stock show participants said they planned to use Monday's earnings to prepare for their futures.

Blake Rogers took home $8,500 from Victoria Business Leaders for his grand champion carcass steer. He said he planned to invest that money into next year's animal.

Meanwhile, Melody Riley, who received $4,000 from H-E-B and H-E-B Plus for her grand champion carcass lamb, said she planned to put that money away for her college education.

Haley Foeh, who received $3,500 for her reserve champion broilers from First Victoria National Bank, Klean Corp International, Friends of Victoria County Youth and Shoppa's Farm Supply, had similar plans.

And while Caleb Korczynski, who received $3,500 from The Specialty Group for his grand champion broilers, also had plans to put money away for school, Mom and Dad said he could use $200 on whatever he wanted.

The 8-year-old said he had big plans to purchase either a gun or a bow and arrow.

The $6,000 Lane Marbach received from Victoria Business Friends for his grand champion hog will go toward his college education and next year's animals, he said, while Kelley Wood had similar plans for the $5,250 she received from Atzenhoffer Chevrolet, Allan's Wrecker Service and Klean Corp International for her reserve champion hog.

Kelley admitted it would be difficult to say goodbye to the animal she never named but eventually came to know as Jan. The letters stand for "just a number."

"She's really sweet. She's like a puppy," she said, noting that isn't always the case. "Last year's hog used to bite me."

Although The Specialty Group gave Blake Opiela $5,000 for his reserve champion goat, Skippy, Blake also admitted he bonded with the animal.

Not everyone felt the same way.

Shelbie Van Beveren received $10,500 from First Victoria National Bank, Klean Corp International, Shoppa's Farm Supply and Friends of Victoria County Youth for her reserve champion steer, Oscar. Although she put plenty of work into the the animal through the year, she said it wouldn't be difficult to say goodbye.

Lexi Morris, who received $6,500 from Victoria Outlaws buyers' group for her reserve champion carcass steer, also said she felt OK after the auction.

"I usually don't have a problem," she said. "I detach myself pretty quickly."

Hayden Wuensche received $4,750 from Victoria Business Leaders for his grand champion goat, while Jake West took home $6,000 from Atzenhoffer Chevrolet, H-E-B and Klean Corp International for his reserve champion carcass lamb.

Carson Kabela, whose reserve champion rabbits went to Gulf Coast Buyers for $3,500, said the stock show is a family affair.

"My dad has always raised them, and I took it up from him," he said. "I'll keep it up."

For April Chapa, whose grand champion carcass hog sold for $5,000 to The Other Feed Store and Fence Co., Monday's sale was also something of a tradition, said her grandfather, Pete Chapa. April's father took grand champion when he was 13 years old, he said, and she did the same.

Meanwhile, Tori Chapa, who sold her reserve champion carcass hog to Robby and Tami Burdge for $3,500, found herself facing a bit of an obstacle. A Sunday volleyball practice landed her on crutches when she fell and sprained her ankle.

"The auction wasn't stressful, but it was hard with crutches," she said

Some participants offered advice as the evening progressed.

For Kyle Cooley, who received $4,750 from Atzenhoffer Chevrolet, H-E-B and Klean Corp International for his grand champion rabbit, auction night is all about keeping one's cool. It's OK to be nervous, he said, but don't let it show.

Kye Johnston, who took home $4,250 from Victoria Business Friends for his reserve champion lamb, advised others raising lambs to work with their animals all the time.

"If you work with them one week and then forget a week, they'll forget everything," he said. "That's how they are."

For Isaac Gutierrez, who took home $6,000 from The Specialty Group for his grand champion lamb, the auction wasn't just the end of this year's project. For the Victoria East High School senior - who plans to help out with the show next year - this was his last year to participate.

He said it might seem strange not to find himself competing in the coming year, but he was proud of his most recent win.

"It feels good to go out with a bang," he said.



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