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Maci Pridemore posing with her Grand Champion cow and its new owner at the 2023 4-H Livestock Auction. Photo by August Toevs.  

Friday, July 28, the Chaffee County 4-H Extension hosted its annual livestock auction and buyers reception at the Pine Tree Event Center in Poncha Springs during the Chaffee County Fair and Rodeo. This event is eagerly anticipated each year, as it includes the 4-H awards presentation ceremony and the opportunity to purchase award-winning livestock from the county fair.

This year’s County Fair held a special significance as it marked the 100th anniversary of the Chaffee County 4-H chapter. To celebrate this milestone, 4-H members compiled a cookbook featuring recipes from past and current members who could be reached.

Throughout the year, 4-H members work diligently to raise cows, swine, sheep, goats, rabbits, and chickens, with the ultimate goal of being named grand champion at the county fair and selling their animals for considerable amounts of money.

There were dozens of bidders at this year’s auction, local businesses from banks to ranches and auto shops to contracting firms, each competing for the privilege of purchasing one of 112 animals for sale.

Brayden Pridemore showing off his 1,325 lbs., Reserve Grand Champion-winning cow. Photo by August Toevs. The auction opened up with a bang, as Maci Pridemore sold her Grand Champion-winning bovine, weighing in at 1,213 lbs., to Pavement Maintenance Services for an incredible $10,500. Another Pridemore—Brayden—earned the Reserve Grand Champion Beef award for his cow, which weighed in at 1,325 lbs. and sold for $8,000.

Following that sale, Tanner Shellabarger sold his Grand Champion swine for $9,000 to Scanga Meats. The pig weighed in at 248 lbs.

Tanner Shellabarger and Ben Scanga of Scanga Meats posing with the Grand Champion Swine. Photo by August Toevs.

Quin Lewis won two Grand Champion awards at this year’s fair, one for sheep and the other for goats.

After selling the 142 lbs. sheep for $5,700 to Collegiate Peaks Bank, it was later announced that Lewis would be donating the proceeds back to the fair for the purchase of a new livestock scale. She sold her 97 lbs. goat to First Colorado Land Office for $4,500.

Jason LaRue’s set of three Grand Champion rabbits, weighing 5.10 lbs., 5.16 lbs., and 5.28 lbs., were sold for $1,000 each to Salida Auto and Diesel.

The last of the Grand Champions for purchase was Cash Courson’s trio of market chickens, which weighed 5.96 lbs., 6.02 lbs. and 6.00 lbs. The set was purchased by Faricy Boys Automotive at $600 per chicken.

On a more somber note, County Fair Committee members Tate Scanga and Rachel Walke announced before the auction that this would be their final year serving on the fair committee. Both have played integral roles in organizing an extraordinary county fair for many years, and their departure is met with sadness by the community.

“I would never turn my back on you kids,” Scanga reassured the auction’s attendees.  “This is the future of Chaffee County.”