The skill and showmanship of county youth was on full display at the 2021 Goliad County Fair, bringing the annual event back in full force after a truncated competition in 2020.

After the festivities from March 17-19, youth livestock projects were sold off at a commercial sale at the Fairgrounds March 20, with $271,000 worth of bids taken on 67 different commercial heifers. On top of sales on both heifer projects and agricultural mechanics masterpieces, the week featured several livestock shows and performances from the professionals of the PRCA Rodeo.

“We had a great turnout at all of our events,” Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent and Goliad County Fair Association advisor Brian Yanta said. “The stock show went smoothly, the rodeo had three great performances ... we’re very happy.”

The Goliad event was one of the few county fairs throughout the area to have a 2020 version, as limited capacity and social distancing protocols were still becoming household words for the general public. Fair representatives planned on a similarly cautious show for 2021, with their minds at a little more ease courtesy Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order expanding public capacity at events.

With the executive order, the fair was clear to jump from 50 percent to 100 percent capacity. While on the fairgrounds this year, staff still checked out the barn to make sure there wasn’t a crowded atmosphere, keeping the event running smoothly.

“(It) took a lot of fortitude with our board to move forward and make the adjustments that made this show successful ... we had the courage in this county to do so,” Yanta said.

The fair still kept with several safety protocols, such as the addition of tents and the readiness of personal protective equipment. Yanta stated that safety for youth and for auction supporters was still the “first” thought on their minds.

“We were in a state of flux,” Yanta said of putting together the 2021 show after a smaller 2020 attendance. “Everyone just had to feel it out as it went along, and everybody was trying to put their best foot forward, everybody had best intentions of what they were trying to do. We were never in this situation before. I think people gave us a lot of latitude.”

The increased attendance and auction support in 2021 led to the $271,000 figure in commercial heifer sales, as well as an extra $8,100 sold from ag mechanics projects.

Beginning the commercial heifer auction was grand overall exhibitor August Ball, selling two of his fall-class Brahman heifers at $1,800 per head, $3,600 total for buyer Louis Willeke. Reserve overall exhibitor Neely Luco was next, selling off two spring-class Brangus Cross heifers at $1,400 per head ($2,800 total) for buyers Alan and Robyn Roberts.

Other champion sales from the heifer auction were Dillon Mellado (two spring-class Brafords totalling $4,400 to Ty Shelton, Chad Shelton and Stephen Berger), Barrett Irwin (two fall-bred Brafords totalling $6,800 to Beeville L/S Commission) and Tracer Schendel (two pairs-class F-1 Tigers Stripes totalling $4,400 to Beeville L/S Commission). Reserve champion sales were made by Riley Bohl (two fall-class F-1 Brafords totalling $4,000 to Alan and Robyn Roberts), Walker Wimberly (two fall-bred 1/4 Brahman 3/4 Herefords totalling $3,600 to Gary Coogler) and Fallon Grimsinger (two pairs-class Brahmans totalling $8,000 to Jack and Leslie Owens).

Able to sell their ag mechanics projects were grand champion Landry Aleman ($1,300 to Derek Walters), reserve champion Tracer Schendel ($1,100 to Jeremy and Veronica Fortenberry), third-place Wyatt Cain ($1,100 to Kurt Schubert), fourth-place Kolby Janssen ($3,200 to Karnes County Livestock, Billy and Shirley Janssen, Janssen Bros. and Michael Janssen).

Yanta stated that there was no expectation to hit these numbers, and gives all credit to the youth that brought projects forward.

“To be involved in any livestock project is a long-term commitment. You’re talking about some of these projects, many over a year (of work) ... some are shorter-term projects, that are six weeks, but those are six weeks of a lot of sleepless nights. So we are instilling a work ethic in these young folks. I’ve been working 25 years, projects haven’t really changed, in fact they’ve gotten harder, it’s taken a lot of work. Those kids know it. It’s not that you just go buy a project and you show it nine months later ... you’re learning responsibility taking care of those projects.”

Texas A&M AgriLife will continue to partner with the Goliad community for the remainder of 2021, including conducting the TexasSpeaks online survey. The survey is conducted by local extension services with the purpose of listening to citizens so that A&M can identify the strengths and needs of specific communities. To learn more about the survey and what residents can do to support Goliad projects, visit https://texasspeaks.tamu.edu/abouttexasspeaks.

•tleffler@mysoutex.com•

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