New nonprofit in charge of Jr. Livestock Sale at Routt County Fair |

New nonprofit in charge of Jr. Livestock Sale at Routt County Fair

Last year's sale saw 133 animals garner nearly $610,000

The Grand Champion steer of the 2021 Routt County Fair sold for $8,750 during the 2021 Junior Livestock Sale. It was purchased by Mountain West Insurance.
Bryce Martin/Steamboat Pilot & Today

This year’s Junior Livestock Sale at the Routt County Fair will be handled by the Routt County Junior Livestock Sale Committee, a new nonprofit that hopes to ease the process of getting 4-H’ers their money from animal sales.

In the past, the sale — specifically the money changing hands — had been handled by the Routt County Colorado State University Extension Office, but the university has since pulled away from the event.

Last year, the county stepped in, but that wasn’t ideal either.

“I think it was not a pleasant situation,” said Commissioner Tim Corrigan. “But I was fearful that we would be sitting here a year later with the situation unresolved and continued unhappiness on the part of all parties.”

Efforts to find that resolution started almost immediately after last year’s sale, and now the Routt County Junior Livestock Sale Committee is officially a nonprofit. Last week, commissioners approved an agreement putting that group in charge of the sale, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Routt County Fair.

Adonna Allen, president of the committee, said last year allowed everyone involved to take a step back and realize there could be a better way to handle the sale going forward.

After research by some “dedicated parents and 4-H volunteers,” she said, Moffat and Weld counties each had a good model, with a 501(c)3 organization at the helm.

Mountain West Insurance CEO Darrell Camilletti raises his bid card to the auctioneer for his purchase of the 2021 grand champion steer at the Junior Livestock Show.
Bryce Martin/Steamboat Pilot & Today

“The auction allows these kids to have finality to their project,” Allen said. “Both in terms of putting an end to the project as far as a record book and their showmanship and their market beef class, but also in terms of what it’s really meant for, which is providing food quality local meat to local consumers.”

Todd Hagenbuch, the director and agricultural agent for Routt County Extension, said a lot of other counties run their junior livestock sale this way, and he thought the new committee would be “a great group for the kids, the buyers and everybody else.”

Last year’s sale ended with 133 head of livestock sold for nearly $610,000. Allen said the 4-H’ers typically use their proceeds to reinvest in the next year’s project or their college education.

She estimated the cost to put on the sale will be around $11,000. The committee has been working with local businesses to raise money to cover those costs and ensure “the money (4-H’ers) raise can really go back into their own pockets.”

Another benefit of the nonprofit running the auction for the buyers is that contributions above fair market value for the animal can be claimed as a charitable donation. Last year, the average beef cow sold for more than $7,000 each and the average pig garnered more than $4,000.

“We’re talking about thousands of dollars over their fair market value,” Allen said.

Corrigan said he was glad the committee was formed to handle the sale going forward, and that he thought it was a good solution for everyone.  

“I think we actually managed to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” he joked.

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