By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
The 2022 Clark County Junior Livestock Association (CCJLA) show, held last week at the Clark County Fair, went down in the books as one of the best ever – even with a lower-than-expected number of entries.
Although entry numbers were close to normal at weigh-in in December and January, fewer kids than usual actually made it back to show their animals at the fair. This was mostly due to the swaring costs of livestock feed.
But the upside of fewer animals meant that it was a sellers’ market at the auction. Selling prices were very high this year across the board, which really benefitted all the kids involved.
A total of 141 animals went to auction on Saturday, for a grand total of $405,462. This was up from last year’s record high.
Nateya Rider’s Grand Champion steer weighed 1400 lbs and sold for $8.50/lb. Andii Shakespear’s Grand Champion lamb weighed 126 lbs and sold for $14.50/lb. Nateya Rider’s Grand Champion goat weighed 100 lbs and sold for $60/lb. Fallon Yardley’s Grand Champion pig weighed 266 lbs and sold for $16/lb.
Last year’s judge Ryan Rash made a return appearance for this year’s show. Rash is flamboyant and quick in his decision-making. But the kids appreciated how he took time to speak to each of them with positive and encouraging comments.
“I love to come here and I’m really hoping they invite me again,” Rash said of the CCJLA event. “This is a great show with great kids and great livestock.”
Although bringing the best animal to market was the crowning achievement, there were so many different ways for kids to shine. Each exhibitor got to participate in a showmanship contest where their ability to work with their animal was judged.
This year’s top showman awards went to Brock Eastman, senior division; Fallon Yardley, intermediate division; and Aurelie Stratton, junior division.
The barn was also full of fun contests all week. Wednesday saw FFA members from all over the state of Nevada coming to Clark County to compete in the FFA state livestock judging event. Local showmen were able to enter the contest as well and the winner in each category received a beautiful belt buckle.
This year also saw the return of the wild, wacky and always entertaining sheep fitting contest where kids in teams of 2 have to take an untamed sheep, wash it, and then shear it off to make it as pretty as they can in an hour.
In addition, the livestock knowledge contest made a return for a second year. There was a rate-of-gain contest to see which animals gained the most weight. Every exhibitor was required to submit a record book detailing their animal care records. Placing and participating in each event, including market and showmanship, carried a point bonus with it and at the end of the show, the points were totaled and three All-Around Champions were crowned. This year the winners were Iain McMurray, senior; Fallon Yardley, intermediate; and Aurelie Stratton, junior.
The show is a great place for kids to make friends from all over. Fun events were interspersed with the competitive ones. Kids were able to play kickball, have a dinner, participate in an all-ages dance, and other great bonding activities throughout the week.
“This year was really great!” said CCJLA secretary Missy Hardy. “We were disappointed at first with the low number of animals, but it worked out to be a fantastic show and definitely great for the kids.”
Hardy particularly hailed the sponsors and supporters of the livestock show for making the efforts of the kids worthwhile. “We really feel its one of the best ways to raise great kids,” she said.
CCJLA President Corey Houston agreed. “I love being here, watching these kids interact with each other and make lifelong friends all while working hard and learning lessons that will benefit them their whole lives,” he said. “It’s so rewarding watching their growth from year to year. It makes all the work and all the hours planning worth it and I truly can’t wait until next year.”