HERMISTON — Due to COVID-19 restrictions, 4-H and FFA animals for the 2020 Umatilla County Fair Livestock Auction were dropped off at the fairgrounds, shown by a handful of masked volunteers and judged live to determine a grand champion, reserve grand champion and the sale order. In lieu of a fair, the Umatilla County Fair Board, sale committee, 4-H, FFA and Umatilla County Board of Commissioners created a modified event to allow the market animals to sell while remaining COVID compliant.

The 2020 Umatilla County Fair Youth Livestock Auction grossed over $585,000 on 208 lots, just slightly off the 2019 record of $615,000 on 265 lots. Sale Superintendent Marie Linnell said, “It is just amazing to see the support of our communities throughout the county and beyond!”

There are many ways to look at the reason for the success of this year’s auction. The UCF Sale Committee reached out to last year’s buyers during the week prior to the auction and it was evident on those calls that the community was ready to support the kids. While some who have been impacted by COVID-19 weren’t able to support as much as previous years, others indicated that they would be able to commit additional funds.

The virtual option saw significant bidding, but the option for buyers to proxy their bidding to on-site volunteer sale staff, who were able to attend the live auction on their behalf, really helped the sale to gain the momentum needed for the sale prices that were seen this year. The bump program added a record $65,000 and impacted 169 of the 208 lots. Add-on donations also broke their record, coming in at over $72,000.

Winners of grand champion and reserve grand champion honors, and the buyers of the winning animals, were:

Market Swine: Broc Erickson, grand champion (Elmer’s Irrigation); Lydia Vander Stelt, reserve grand champion (AgriNorthwest).

Market Rabbits: Kaitlynn Bombela-Post, grand champion (Mid Columbia Producers).

Market Steer: Alyson Terry, grand champion (Helena Chemical); Blake Betz, reserve grand champion (Simplot Grower Solutions).

Market Turkey: Carter Keys, grand champion (Les Schwab Hermiston & Pendleton); Tanner Miller, reserve grand champion (Gregory Smith & Co. LLC).

Market Goat: Kelli Nelson, grand champion (Threemile Canyon Farms); Quinn Duff, reserve grand champion (Copeland Show Calves).

Market Sheep: Michael Rosselle, grand champion (Nutrien Ag Solutions); Gavin Bolen, reserve grand champion (Bank of Eastern Oregon).

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