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Butler County 4-H members ready for the big time at livestock auction

At the 2021 Butler Farm Show, Luke Frazier, of Butler, walks his grand champion steer ‘Cruz’ back to his stall following his sale at the 4-H Livestock Auction. Butler Eagle File Photo
Farm fever
Entrants spend most of the year prepping animals, anticipating Butler Farm Show

Luke Frazier won big at the Butler Farm Show last year, when his cattle was judged Grand Champion County Bred Market Steer, but Luke has not been resting on his laurels.

The 16-year-old member of Butler County 4-H said he invested his prize money to prepare another steer. He will have one for sale at the 75th annual Butler Farm Show, which opens with a ceremony Sunday evening, Aug. 6, after the animals and exhibits are checked in.

“I reinvested (the prize money) back into my cow, helping pay for feed, miscellaneous expenses, vet bills, new equipment, entree fees,” Luke said.

The junior livestock auction is not only a highlight of the weeklong farm show each year, but it is often the highlight of the entire year for many of the children who sell animals there.

Amy Metrick, Butler County 4-H educator, said children work for months to prepare their animals for the sale, and they all hope to see that work pay off at the show.

“The 4-H year runs from October through September. The kids start to plan in October to December what they want to do for the next year,” Metrick said. “For kids with market steers, they have probably had steers since last year.”

The junior livestock auction takes place Thursday, Aug. 10, and Metrick said there will likely be more than 150 children selling animals. She said there will be 116 pigs, 53 steers for market beef and 105 lambs, as well as 30 goats and at least 10 livestock rabbits on display.

“Our numbers are up with everything,” Metrick said. “Kids will only be able to sell two lots each because of how many we have.”

Judges will evaluate animals in the first days of the farm show, so the winners will be known by auction.

Luke said he is confident about his steer’s chance of winning a prize this year, after raising him since April 2022. He tries to keep him comfortable and well-fed so he can be in the best shape possible for the show.

“Minimum weight is 1,000 (pounds), top is 1,500, so we aim for around 1,300. We want to be a little over that,” Luke said. “I am very, very pleased with how everything is going so far.”

Metrick said many of the children are anxiously anticipating the livestock auction, and the chance to showcase their animals in general.

“The kids always look forward to it. They breathe a sigh of relief when it’s here,” she said.

Luke, too, will likely breathe a sigh of relief once the auction is over, especially after overcoming the difficulties of taking care of a half-ton steer for more than a year.

“We've been really making sure he's been eating, giving him water, hay, everything he needs to be comfortable so he can make weight,” Luke said. “There are many, many tough days, but those make the good days so much better.”

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