LOVINGTON — Add-on contributions to the 2022 junior livestock sale set an apparent record comfortably near the oft-repeated goal of $1 million.
With the Sale of Champions at the 86th annual Lea County Fair and PRCA Rodeo bringing in a total of $755,000 during the auction on Aug. 6, add-ons of $115,355.66 brought the total to $870,355.66. That’s 27 percent more than last year’s record sales.
“We’re very glad to live in Lea County,” said Commission Chairman Dean Jackson. “These kids are very blessed that the public and the businesses think enough of them to reward them for their hard work.”
For comparison the junior livestock sale at last year’s 85th annual fair and rodeo brought in $573,500 on sale day with add-ons of $109,500 bringing the total to around $683,000.
The 2019 livestock sale amount, in the last pre-pandemic year, was $515,350 with add-ons of about $87,939, for a total of $603,289. This year’s total eclipsed 2019 by 44 percent.
A fourth generation native of Lea County, Jackson’s experience as a local businessman and former chairman of the Lea County Fair Board gives him insight to understanding where the money comes from.
“We live and die by the oilfield. Three years ago, everybody was kind of coming off a downturn and building back up,” Jackson said. “That’s the great thing about Lea County. When they’ve got the money, they will give it to those kids.”
Youth in FFA and 4-H clubs from Tatum to Jal raised and exhibited the heifers, goats, lambs, steer, poultry and other animals showed and sold at the annual auction, some starting to work with their animals as soon as the previous year’s event closed.
Former commission chairwoman Commissioner Rebecca Long also expressed excitement over the record-breaking numbers, also attributing the success to record production in the oilfield.
“These kids work so hard all year long and this process teaches them so much,” Long said. “It teaches them responsibility and, once they sell their animal, it teaches them how to manage money and save money for the future, for school and college. It teaches these kids all kinds of different life lessons along the way.”
Long agreed with Jackson on the value of the oil and gas industry’s influence.
“Oil really drives our sale. Every single business and person in Lea County depends on the oil and gas business,” Long said. “So, with that being up this year, you could kind of feel the excitement and the boost in everybody’s step.”
Long said the excitement at the fair brought about increased enthusiasm for buyers clubs and businesses to unite in support of the youth.
“I’m thrilled to know we set a record, especially coming out of the last two crazy years we’ve had in all of America, I’m thrilled to see everyone come together and give this much support to the kids of Lea County,” Long concluded.
Jackson concluded the recipients will spend the funds wisely.
“We just want to tell everyone thank you, every individual and business, that gave money to these kids,” Jackson said. “It goes to a worthy project. A lot of them use it to continue their education, so it’s a great cause.”
The add-on contributions are in addition to the auction sale price obtained on the last day of the fair.
“The add-ons help individuals or businesses that can’t outright buy an animal to add on to each individual exhibitor’s money that they make,” Jackson explained. “It’s also for exhibitors that didn’t make a sale. They can get add-ons, too. It’s a way of ensuring individual kids are shown they’re appreciated.”
County Manager Mike Gallagher told the News-Sun last week a more detailed overview of the fair and rodeo expenses and revenue will be presented to the commission during its regular board meeting on Sept. 8. The fair and rodeo was held during the first week of August.