PARKS, Ariz. - While many look forward to carnival rides and food, preparing for the Coconino County Fair is serious business for members of the Parks in the Pines 4-H Club. Five members will be auctioning steers they have raised since November as part of their 4-H project.
In preparation for the fair, members of the Parks in the Pines 4-H Club's steer project spent Aug. 15 learning how to prepare their animals for the county fair. The class was led by the FFA from Snowflake. Club members received valuable nutrition guidelines and tips on how to groom a steer. The members hope the training will help them secure additional profits during the livestock auction at the fair. Troy Mortensen leads the steer projects while Laura Kelley is the club's swine leader.
Taya Mortensen, Brian Kelley, Monika Hermann, Kenny Hermann and Joseph Adragna will be showing and selling their steers at the fair. Five pigs will also be auctioned. The animals will be shown at the fair Sept. 4 and the livestock auction begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Ft. Tuthill Fairgrounds in Flagstaff. The show and auction are open to the public.
This year's auction is dedicated to the late Don Brackin. Three of the Parks steers were purchased from the Brackin Ranch.
"Brian's, Kenny's and Monika's steers came from Don Brackin's ranch," Laura Kelley said. "This is a nice connection."
When purchased in November, the steers weighed between 450 and 650 pounds. When the steers are auctioned, their weight exceeds 1,000 pounds, which is equivalent to 800-1,000 pounds in food. Participating in the steer project is not inexpensive. Steers costs $650-$1,000 and participants must also purchase feed. The project also requires a large time commitment.
"My son walks his steer one-half to one-mile at least five days each week," Kelley said. "Steers also must be bathed often and fed daily."
Profits from the auction are dependant upon how many bidders attend.
"More people bidding results in higher prices," Kelley said.
Last year, average prices at the steer auction were approximately $3.20-$3.50 per pound, according to Kelley. Therefore, the sale of a 1,000-pound equaled $3,200-$3,500.
"That sounds like a high profit, but you must subtract the cost of feeding and caring for the steer," she said.
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