Junior livestock show auction raises more than previous year

Natalie Putnam, Gainesville FFA secretary, stands in the center of the auction area Saturday, Jan. 11, during the Cooke County Junior Livestock Show at the Cooke County Fairgrounds, 1901 Justice Center Blvd., as she listens to people bid on her wood shop project — a table and two bench seats — that brought in $1,800.

Despite many battling financial hurdles during the ongoing pandemic, the Cooke County Junior Livestock Show's premium sale this past weekend raised 13% more than it did in 2020, officials said.

“We are extremely grateful for this kind of support during a pandemic,” said show secretary Traci Broom. “The businesses of Cooke County and surrounding areas are a huge support of our youth.”

The Saturday, Jan. 9, auction at the Cooke County Fairgrounds, 1901 Justice Center Blvd., brought in $189,350, according to information provided by Broom. Last year, $166,500 was raised during the sale, she said. With add-on money, a total of $313,691 was raised in 2020.

Add-on money describes smaller donations given to projects that may or may not have qualified for the sale.

The public can still give to students who showed at this year's event. Donations will be taken through Friday, Jan. 22, and can be mailed to P.O. Box 83, Era, Texas, 76238, if postmarked by the deadline. Be sure to include the child’s name and lot number the donation is going to.

Lot numbers for all students can be found at www.cookecountyyouthfair.com or on the CCJLS' Facebook page, Broom said.

In addition, those interested in supporting area youth can email Cookecountyjls@gmail.com or drop off donations at the Cooke County AgriLife Extension Office, 301 S. Chestnut St., during business hours.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 13, $90,655 had been raised in add-ons, organizers said.

“Personally speaking, my students in Gainesville always use this money for next year’s investment,” said Broom, who is also an ag science teacher and FFA advisor at Gainesville High School.

She said 278 students showed during the auction. Those students, Broom said, exhibited around 500 projects. The show had a total of 1,097 projects including the Family and Consumer Science show.

Officials said students can show many projects, but only sell one.

“A lot of students qualify with more than one and must choose which one to earn premium money on,” Broom said.

With the exception that animals were not on display at the premium sale this year to help with social distancing guidelines, the coronavirus didn't alter the CCJLS plans much.

“The turnout was great,” Broom said. “I would say the buyers were about the same number as previous years.”

And, animals should be brought back to the auction for the 2022 show, she said.

What's next for the students who participated in the CCJLS?

Most still have a major show destination in the next few months, according to Broom. The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo was canceled but is being replaced with shows by private organizations, she said.

“San Antonio, San Angelo and Houston are still planned to go on with schedule changes to promote social distancing,” Broom said.

She said the heartbreak of cancellations hasn't changed the students' dedication and their commitment to their projects whether school is in session or not.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that investing in our futures is huge,”Broom said. “These students are the future of the agriculture industry.”

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