Going to market

Aug. 22—MOSES LAKE — It's kind of a high point, the moment when hard work is rewarded in hard cash.

Livestock sales are an integral part of a county fair, when a 4-H or Future Farmers of America student sees the benefit from all the effort they put in through the year raising a heifer or a pig or a goat.

"What'm I bid? What'm I bid? Do I hear 1,900? 1,900! Do I hear 2,000? All done, all gone..." said auctioneer Chuck Yarbro Jr., machine-gunning the ritual auction phrases Friday morning at the Grant County Fair's Kenny Ardell Pavilion as one young person after another brought a critter into the ring to be sold. The teens looked nervous but proud as they showed off several months' to several years' worth of work.

"We usually get (a pig) like eight months prior to the fair," said Joban Zarete, who was waiting to sell the oinker he had raised with Quincy FFA. "We let them grow, and at maybe two months we start training, being around the pig, getting to spend time with the pig, getting the pig to get used to you."

All told, there were 421 students there to sell their animals. The springer heifers went first; Rentyn Koehn of the Royal Ranchers in Royal City sold his grand champion for $2,100. They were followed by beef cattle, then swine, sheep, goats, rabbits and poultry.

Ethan Wade, of the Moses Lake 89ers 4-H group, got a little something extra along with the proceeds from his reserve grand champion steer. Wade had created a video for the fair's social media chronicling his work in raising his steer.

"For his efforts, today he takes second place and another check for $750," announced Fairgrounds Manager Jim McKiernan.

"Yeah! Spaceburgers are on Ethan!" Yarbro said.

What do the young growers do with the money they make?

"Invest in another animal," said Ricardo Moreno, who was selling a pig with Quincy FFA. "Possibly a steer this time."

Joel Martin may be reached via email at jmartin@columbiabasinherald.com.