By LIBBY CLUETT
The Palo Pinto County Stock Show and auction is over and has left some extra dollars in the pockets of area youth, many of whom will continue with their animals as they head to shows in Fort Worth, Houston, San Angelo and San Antonio.
Friday's auction drew buyers from throughout the county. While Palo Pinto County Livestock Association President Ronnie Lee said buying was “better than expected,” he added, “the economy knocked us.”
Overall, prices of cattle and swine were down and Lee said, on initial glance, the auction was down by about 15 to 20 percent from past years.
“Some steers brought less than $800,” he said, adding that these animals have been tagged since June and youth probably had them – feeding and prepping them – almost a year.
Lee also noted there was competition, with a total of seven auctions on Saturday.
“Five years ago was the best,” he said of bidding and prices, “but the oil and gas industry was really booming.”
However, Lee said the top steer price was higher than last year's and went to the Graford Fair and Livestock Association.
This community buyers group “purchased” Annie Herring's 1,325-pound grand-champion steer, “Bling,” for $4,500.
Herring, a Graford home-schooled seventh-grader, unseated last year's grand champion, Justin Rico, who won reserve champion this year with “Flash,” a steer that “sold” for $3,000 at Saturday's premium auction to the Business Groups of Santo.
Rico, a senior in Santo, said he plans to take the 1,100-pound steer to Houston and has another he plans to show in Fort Worth.
“This is a big deal for us in Graford,” noted one Graford resident and “Bling” supporter as he passed by.
“The show was a lot of fun,” said Herring, who plans to take Bling to the Fort Worth Stock Show. “It taught me a lot of great values.”