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New Record Set At Sale of Champions
JACKSON -- Generous buyers rewarded exhibitors of 33 champion market animals with another record-setting sale following the recent Dixie National Junior Livestock Show in February.
Gale Chrestman, 4-H livestock specialist with Mississippi State University' Extension Service, said the 1999 Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions netted $186,701. The previous record was set last year at $185,408.
"The 4-H and FFA livestock programs are in the business of raising grand champion kids. Buyers have been very generous in their support of 4-H and FFA exhibitors in recent years," Chrestman said. "The generous support by companies and individual buyers is an indication of their opinion of the quality kids we have in the program."
Two of the three species -- steers, hogs and lambs -- posted new record averages. The nine steers averaged a record $8.45 per pound, hogs averaged a record $18.83 per pound, and lambs averaged $21.41 per pound.
The top selling steer owned by Allyson and Jessica Shoemaker of Smith County sold for $17 per pound to Pete Frierson Building Supply. The Shoemakers also owned the Lightweight Champion European steer which was in the sale.
With the support of their uncle, Terry Ashley of Raleigh, the Shoemakers have qualified for the Sale of Champions four years. While the Sale each February is the ultimate goal, the family is quick to point out the other rewards of showing livestock.
"Showing build character. It teaches kids how to lose as well as win. Some years, a kid can have the best steer and just not make the Sale. It's all up to the judge's opinion," Ashley said.
Jessica Shoemaker, who ages out of junior competition this year, said showing is hard work, but she enjoys meeting other exhibitors and traveling to shows.
"If you win, you can earn some money at other shows, but it's not going to cover expenses," Jessica said. "I would keep showing until I was 30 years old, but I can't."
Allyson plans to show as long as she can as well. Working with the animals has helped influence her career plans to become a veterinarian.
Chrestman said the livestock program provides a career foundation for all participants whether they pursue a closely related field of study or not.
"Junior exhibitors learn life lessons that will equip them for whatever they do as adults," Chrestman said. "The Sales Committee is committed to expanding support beyond the exhibitors who qualify for the Sale. This was the seventh year $1,000 scholarships were given to those kids, and the number of scholarships has grown from one the first year to 17 this year."
For more information about participating in the junior livestock program or supporting the academic scholarships, contact a local county Extension office.