Sale of Champions rewards students for their hard work at livestock show
Mar. 18—MERCEDES — The bidding began at $10,000.
"Do I hear 12,000? 12,000! Can we go to 14? Yes, now 15?"
And the bidding on Damian Rangel's grand champion steer Saturday at the Sale of Champions climbed higher and higher.
"Twenty-five thousand!" said the auctioneer at the event at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Damian, 11, now led his steer from the arena while his father Damian Sr. cheered for his son's success, and of course, for the college money his son had earned.
"It's fun, exciting," he said. "He's also won breed champion, and it's all for his college fund."
His two grown daughters, now in college, also won grand champion in previous years, making success at livestock shows a family practice.
Damian Jr., a sixth grader at O. Garza Elementary School in Sharyland, was calm and composed through the whole affair but clearly aware of his hard work and the result.
"I practiced, worked hard with him late at night," he said. 'I'm thankful that I had a good steer."
Ramon Alvarez, 11, sold his grand champion horticulture project for $2,500.
"I had to give it water and make sure it was in the sun, and when it was cold, I had to take it inside," said Ramon, a sixth grader at Donna Warneke Elementary School in Mission and member of Starlite 4-H.
His younger brother Rio, 9, won reserve breed champion for his chili plant. Both boys also showed lambs, but their horticulture projects had the grandest success of all.
Lambs brought the big success for Karen Rivera, 15, a freshman at Pioneer High School in Mission. She sold her grand champion lamb for $12,500.
"This is my first time winning grand," Karen said. "It feels very exciting, I worked very hard with my lamb. My hard work paid off, and me and my family are excited."
Hector Rivera was glad his daughter could reap the awards of her hard work.
"It's been a journey since she was eight years old, and she finally got there. They money's great as a scholarship but nothing beats the memory," he said.