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By Marc Robertson
Cotulla High School student Robert Sanchez III exhibited the grand champion steer at the annual La Salle County Junior Livestock Show on Friday, March 12, and went on to sell the animal at auction the following day for $7,000.
This year’s stock show was held without crowds at the La Salle County Fairgrounds and was extended over three days to accommodate special health and safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic. The general public was not admitted to the Alexander Memorial Showbarn; students with livestock projects were limited to admitting only a small number of family members to assist them.
Traditionally, the La Salle County Junior Livestock Show is held during ‘Wild Hog Weekend,’ the four-day festival on the second weekend in March that includes the Wild Hog Cook-Off, science and art fairs, a food show, and a carnival, while the fairgrounds on Hwy 97 in Cotulla are filled with food and beverage vendors, cooks, family groups, exhibitors and live entertainment. Evenings include dances at the fair pavilion, and Saturday morning features a parade through downtown Cotulla with a special theme for the entire festival each year.
This year’s festival events were canceled due to health concerns, and organizers of the livestock show established a safety plan aimed at preventing inappropriate grouping, keeping exhibitors socially distanced, requiring face masks of all those attending, and spreading the judging, awards and auction over a three-day period.
Eliyah Ramirez was awarded the reserve championship for her steer and sold the animal at auction for $5,200.
Further livestock show awards and auction prices on Saturday were as follows:
The grand champion goat exhibited by Dannika Walker sold for $6100; reserve championship went to Bayleigh Walker, who did not sell.
Jade Lozano exhibited the grand champion breeding heifer. There was no reserve champion. In the commercial heifers division, the grand champions were exhibited by Brooklyn Kuenstler, who sold the three animals for a total of $15,300. Carlos Alba exhibited the reserve champion commercial heifers and sold his animals for $7,200.
In the swine division, Bayleigh Walker was awarded the grand championship for her hog, which sold at auction for $6,000. The reserve championship was awarded to Eliyah Ramirez for her hog, which she did not sell.
The grand champion pen of broilers was exhibited by Abby Menke, who sold her chickens at auction for $4,000. Michael Vargas was awarded the reserve championship for his broilers, which sold for $2,400.
Showmanship awards included buckles in senior and junior divisions for the students’ work in preparing and exhibiting their livestock projects. The steer showmanship awards went to Robert Sanchez III and Grace Triplitt, respectively, and the hog showmanship awards were presented to Erasmo Ramirez III in the senior division and Dannika Walker in the junior. Goat showmanship awards went to Reychel Narvaiz in the senior division and Dannika Walker in the junior.
In commercial heifers judging, students were also required to submit their record books and go through an interview process in which they were quizzed on their work in raising the animals for market. Awards went to Carlos Alba for top senior record books, Juan Suarez for top junior record books, Maggie Alba for the top senior interview, and Brooklyn Kuenstler for the top junior interview.
Building trades exhibitions were also included in the show last weekend, and awards were made to the wood- and metalwork projects earning the highest rating from judges. The grand champion metalwork project was by Chaney McCullom, who did not sell her piece. The reserve championship went to Jiliana Muriel, who sold her piece for $2,500 at auction. Jeramiah Gonzalez was awarded the grand championship in woodwork; Donavan Nance was awarded the reserve championship. Additional awards for wood- and metalwork went to Rey Narvaiz, Jose Gonzalez and Zerrick Benavidez.
Greeting award winners and making the presentations of ribbons, buckles and banners were 2020 La Salle County Fair Queen Carolina Garcia and Queen Runner-up Regina Seidel.