While the kids may change over the years, the quality of livestock at the Marias Fair only continues to improve and the tremendous community support for 4-H youth remains steady. With an additional ten head of livestock to sell this year, the 2019 Marias Fair 4-H livestock auction grossed $453,488.50 on 144 head, up from the 2018 gross of $374,386.25 on 134 head of livestock.
The livestock auction featured a pre-sale social for the second year in a row, featuring delicious samples of grilled lamb, goat, beef, and pork served by 4-H youth. Pork was donated by Lower Valley Processing of Kalispell, goat by the Leach family of Ledger, and the beef and lamb by Christiaens Meats of Valier. In addition, cake to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Montana 4-H Foundation was served.
For the second year, meat goats were sold. The four meat goats averaged $6/lb., down $0.13/lb. from 2018. The high selling goat belonged to Jordan Leach, with the 98 lb. Reserve Champion which Chris and Jeremy Vermulm purchased for $7.50/lb. Alyson Leach’s 110 lb. Grand Champion garnered a $6.50/lb. bid from JW Feeds.
The 74 swine averaged $6.93/lb., up $0.13/lb. from 2018. Cut Bank Tire was the winning bidder on Alec Morrisett’s 275 lb. Grand Champion entry at $8.75/lb. The Joe Fretheim family of Circle 4 Farms took home Dylan Clark’s 281 lb. Reserve Champion hog at $8.25/lb. Liliana Barcus’s 260 lb. entry topped the swine division with Cut Bank Tire bidding $14/lb.
Steer prices were up nearly a dollar from 2018, with 52 steers averaging $4.46/lb., compared to $3.55/lb. on 56 head last year. Delaney Clark led the Grand Champion steer through the ring with Dick Irvin Inc. taking home the Hereford steer for $5.75/lb. on a 1,335 lb. entry. Coalter Littrell’s 1,330-pound Reserve Champion steer received a $6/lb. bid from Cut Bank Tire. Lucas Fretheim’s 1,370 lb. steer topped the steer division at $9.50/lb. to First State Bank of Shelby.
Lambs were also up from 2018, with 14 lambs averaging $6.66/lb. compared to $5.02/lb. last year on 18 head. Bobcat Angus was the winning bidder at $7.25/lb. on the Grand Champion lamb, a 135 entry from Brandon Froslie. Dylan Clark’s 139 lb. Reserve Champion lamb sold to Ben Taylor Inc. for $6/lb. Kadence Bradley had the high selling lamb at $11.75/lb. to Connelly Angus for her 145 lb. project.
For these 4-Hers, receiving a check for their livestock project means paying their feed bills and saving money for next year’s animal to be able to continue the project. Time and time again when asked what the money will go towards, “College” is the answer. These livestock projects lay the foundation for a college savings account and perhaps expanding their livestock projects with a heifer or flock of sheep.
Volunteering their services to run the gavel for the day were local auctioneers Jim Fritz of Chester (sale clerked by Fritz Inc. – Jim and Dena Fritz), Jeff Flesch of Shelby, Ryan Perry of Vaughn, and Zane Drishinski of Conrad.
There were nine animals generously donated back to various 4-H committees. While the 4-Her receives the full sale price of their animal, the animal is then resold at market value with the proceeds from the second sale going to the original buyer’s 4-H committee of choice. Buyers 3 Rivers, Travis and Sanna Clark, Christiaens Meats, Jim Dickenson Trucking, Fretheim Grain, John and Mary Fritz, Dick Irvin Inc., JW Feeds and Up-Front Solutions each donated livestock back. These donations were earmarked for Marias Fair committees and local 4-H councils. In recent years, the animals donated back have helped raise money to build the Angie Greco patio at the food booth which was completed this year, build the new 4-H bathrooms, and fund scholarships for graduating seniors.
Graduating seniors recognized at the sale for receiving Livestock Committee scholarships were Zack Kinyon of Galata (Don Nelson scholarship), Brittany Hanson of Shelby, Lane Lerum of Galata, Cody Hanson of Sunburst. Gus Meiwald of Cut Bank received the $300 Mary Perry Memorial and Jordyn Fields of Cut Bank received $100 from the Dean Peterson Memorial award.
A big thank you to 2019 buyers including: 3 Rivers, Adam Kerfoot – State Farm Insurance, Apex Angus, Balko Oil, Ben Taylor Inc., Billman’s Inc., Billman’s Home Décor, Bobcat Angus, BTI Feeds, CG Ag Consulting, Christiaens Meats, CHS, Circle 4 Farms, Travis and Sanna Clark, Colby Johnson, Commercial Lynks, Connelly Angus, Tim and Billiette Coolidge, Custom Crop Care, Cut Bank Tire, Dick Irvin Inc., Dry Fork Ag, Dry Fork Plumbing and Heating, Equipment Connections, First Bank of MT, First Interstate Bank, First State Bank, Flesch Angus, Fraser’s Oil, Fretheim Grain, John and Mary Fritz, Frontier Aviation, Frontline Ag, Butch and Doreen Gillespie, Glacier Electric Coop, Green Coulee Ranch, I & T Transfer, Independence Bank, Dwayne and Jan Irvin, Jim Dickenson Trucking, Johnson Cattle, JW Feeds, Leavitt Group Insurance, Littrell Electric, Lynne Brown Studios, M7 Builders, Marias River Ranch, MC Land and Cattle, Meissner Circle, Jim and Renee Molenda, Naturener, Norman’s Westernwear, Northern Ford, Northern Vet Clinic, Northwest Farm Credit Service, One Stop Cenex/Curry Cattle Co., Karl and Roberta Ratzburg, Seubert Insurance, Simmes Ranch, Simon’s Petroleum, Smith Angus/Galata Hotel and Store, So-Lo Air, Stockman Bank of Conrad, Stockman Bank of Cut Bank, Trent and Holly Stoltz, Torgerson’s, Up Front Solutions, Chris and Jeremy Vermulm, Shawn and Misty Vermulm, Wanken Farms, Wellman Ranch, Western Livestock/ Northern Video Auction, Windrift Hill and Winko’s Mini Storage.