More than 100 juniors look to sell their animals next week online instead of at the Clark County Fair
LA CENTER — Her family has had them since before she was born, so yes, Mia Achziger knows a thing or two about cows, calves, steers, heifers, and bulls.
They are all called cows on her family farm, but 13-year-old Mia can explain all the differences in terms of definitions for competitions and shows.
She raises the cows. She shows the cows. She sells the cows.
She does the same with goats, too.
“I was at the fair one day. My dad knew some people. They walked up to me: ‘Want to show a cow?’ I said sure. Sounded like fun,” Achziger said. “They had me show one of their older cows. It was the one who hated everybody, but she didn’t hate me. Loved me. Her name was Pendleton.”
The next year, she told her parents she wanted to show her own.
Now in her fifth year of showing, her bedroom is full of rosettes, for finishing first or second in a competition. She has ribbons and banners and other championship memorabilia as well.
This year, there will be no show at the Clark County Fair. There is no fair, after all.
The Clark County Junior Livestock Auction, however, is still a go. Only this year, it is online. It begins Monday and will be open for four days.
More than 100 youngsters, ranging from age 9 to their senior years in high school, will be selling beef, pigs, lambs, goats, rabbits, and poultry.
Instead of showing their animals at the fair, they will be showing their animals via videos, and the auction is online only at bwfinaldrive.com.
“This is a great opportunity for people to put local meat into their freezer, and they get to support a local kid who has been raising the animal,” said Mylissa Conner, a member of the Junior Livestock Auction board who is in charge of rabbits.
“These kids work so hard on their projects. They work hard all year round,” Conner said. “These kids go out and market their animals.”
Now, they have to do their selling with a video instead of a show.
Mia Achziger said she is missing the fair, even with its demanding schedule.
“Last year I was there by 4:30 a.m. to wash my steer, every morning,” she said. “It was rough, but I loved it.”
That’s part of the job, the joy, of raising animals.
“Even though it’s hard … it’s something I love,” she said.
There is also the tough reality that these animals are raised to be sold.
“I was told if you don’t cry, you’ve done something wrong,” Achziger said. “You weren’t working with them enough. You didn’t get close enough. You didn’t show them enough. Something is wrong.”
She recently sold two of her “awesome” goats.
“It was so hard to let them go. They were such good boys,” she said.
And for this year’s online action, she is getting ready to say goodbye to Bellamy Blake, a steer.
“That cow has given me so many troubles, but I’ll be sad to see him go,” she said, noting that “Bell” loves everybody but still has some grumpy moments. Recently, Bell pushed Achziger to the ground and kicked her.
Still, Achziger loves him.
Next week, she will say goodbye.
Achziger said she uses the money she earns to pay her parents back for feed. She also puts some into her savings for college. Oh, and she buys more goats.
It is a labor of love, and one that continues.
The auction will be different this year, but it is still an auction.
Note: There are 11 high school seniors who will be working their final auctions this year. They are:
Anne Bias — rabbits
Kate Bias — rabbits
Brianna Wood — goats
Hunter Babcock — sheep
Halley Byford — sheep
Mya Wollam — swine
Hunter Ball — beef
Brandi Webb — beef
Austin Dent — beef
Karisa Sorenson — beef
Taylor Byford — beef