The sale was one of hundreds made by livestock exhibitors Saturday during the conclusion of San Joaquin AgFest at the county fairgrounds in Stockton.
The AgFest Junior Auction, taking the place this year of the San Joaquin County Fair auction, put more than 600 steers, hogs, goats, lambs, turkeys, rabbits and chickens up for sale to the highest bidder.
Cracraft, who will start her senior year at Tracy High in August, had been grooming her steer — a castrated young bull — for a spot in the auction ring since October.
“He was kind of a jerk at first,” she said. “I worked with him every day for about an hour.”
The hours in the barn translated into improvements in the steer’s weight and attitude.
“He is more powerful and fancier than the other steers in the ring,” Cracraft said.
Cracraft has raised back-to-back supreme champions, receiving breeding beef top honors at the 2013 San Joaquin County Fair. The money from the auction will help her buy a steer and a heifer — a young cow — for next year’s county fair.
The San Joaquin AgFest was created this year to give county youth a place to show and sell their animals after the county fair board of directors voted in December to cancel the 2014 fair while they reorganized.
Kelly Olds, the county fair CEO, walked the livestock barns as he made his way between the swine auction and the dairy heifer sale.
“The volunteers did a fantastic job,” Olds said. “For a first-time event, it went amazingly smooth.”
Olds said it was important to keep the youth livestock program on track during the fair’s hiatus.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm for the FFA and 4-H kids to keep it going,” Olds said. “It didn’t skip a beat.”
Stepping into the auction ring with top honors were two turkey exhibitors from Jefferson 4-H who won supreme champion and reserve supreme champion titles.
Halle Suttle, 12, is in her second year raising turkeys and was happy to take home the supreme champion title with her 24.6-pound bird. The turkey sold for $800.
“It takes a lot of work to raise them,” Halle said. “Just getting experience of raising them is worth it.”
Bailey Matos, 13, held on tight as she flipped her turkey upside down, its wings flapping, to show prospective buyers. Her turkey was the reserve supreme champion and sold for $550.
“I was pretty surprised. I didn’t think we would do that well,” Bailey said. “It’s kind of hard knowing that there are other kids there and you have to trust them and work as a group.”
Also placing high in the judging were Alexandra Castello of Tracy High FFA, market goat, supreme champion; Arianna Koster of Tracy High FFA, market sheep, reserve supreme champion lamb; Salina Smith of West High FFA, market rabbits, supreme champion; Brittney Scott of West High FFA, market rabbits, reserve supreme champion; Shelby Roberson of Tracy High FFA, market swine, FFA reserve champion hog; and Madison Kelly of Banta 4-H, market swine, 4-H reserve champion hog.
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