Aug 5, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff WriterThe Junior Livestock Sale was emotional for Shayde LeClair.
On one hand, the 14-year-old Shoshoni girl's steer, Tweedy, earned this year's reserve champion market beef ribbon, which is the best she has done since she began showing at age 3.
But as she led her 1,313-pound animal into the ring Saturday at the Fremont County Fair and Rodeo, tears started to roll down LeClair's cheeks. The tears continued with each circle made as she showed off Tweedy to the packed bleachers. The highest bid of $4 per pound was announced, and a few photos were snapped. Then LeClair led her steer out of the show ring, still crying.
"I spend a lot of time with my cattle, and they are really close to me," LeClair said when asked about her emotions. "They're practically family."
Since LeClair picks steers for showing from her family's own herd, she said it's hard not to get attached, and she admits to crying every year when her animals are sold.
She recalled the steer she showed at age 9 named Nike.
"I could not sell him," she said. "I still have him today. He's my pet."
LeClair said she would like to keep her steers every year if her mother would allow it.
"She said one yard ornament is enough," she said with a laugh.
Sadness aside, LeClair said she is pleased she earned reserve champion. Last year, she came in third after Ryan Weliever, 17, of Riverton, who nabbed both grand champion and reserve champion
"Ryan Weliever raises nice steers," LeClair said, adding it was a "self-confidence booster" that she came close to Weliever again this year.
Weliever again took home grand champion with his 1,327-pound steer this year. His animal sold for $4.50 per pound.
Saturday's sale was also a tough one for Jordan Johnson, 12, of Riverton. Although she was thrilled that her 79-pound market goat earned grand champion compared to her younger sister's 76-pound reserve champion market goat, Johnson was sad to have to say goodbye to her animal.
"Me and my family worked really hard to make it the best showing we can do," Johnson said.
She was pleased that she beat her sister, Jacoby, 9.
Because goats tend to sell at a lower dollar-per-pound amount, the Johnson sisters tried to up their winnings by dressing their goats in colorful ribbons, visors, sunglasses and other items appropriate for this year's fair theme, "The Best Days of Summer."
Jordon Johnson believed the efforts paid off. Her goat sold for $3.50 per pound, and her sister's went for $6 per pound.
For Dallin Cooper, the annual livestock sale is the end to months of hard work raising his lamb, and this year it paid off for the 17-year-old Riverton teen.
Cooper's 147-pound goat earned reserve champion. The win was also important to the teen, because it was the first time he didn't lose to his older sister, Shay, who stopped showing in 2011.
"Last year, I was close to reserve, but she got it," Cooper said. "But now she's gone."
"It's kind of hard to be sad about getting reserve," he continued. "It's not as good as first, obviously, but I'll take it."
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