Student’s steer picked for state Sale of Champions

Published 8:22 pm Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nine-year-old Will Watts knew when he and his family picked out”Big Time” the steer that it would be a learning experience.

“We named him Big Time, because we had a big time going to gethim, we knew we’d have a bigger time showing him, and an evenbigger time getting rid of him,” said Will’s mother, WendyWatts.

Will, a fifth-grader at Loyd Star, has raised the steer from acalf after he and his family picked it out in Oklahoma. He said heand Big Time had been a good team, but he didn’t know just how gooduntil the Dixie National this year.

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“Me and Big Time, we do pretty good at these little countyshows, but at big ole shows like the Dixie National, we’d neverdone anything real big until now,” he said.

And Thursday, Big Time will be auctioned off in the DixieNational Sale of Champions, which rodeo types say can be a once ina lifetime experience.

“It’s amazing,” said Will. “I’m excited and honored to be partof the Sale of Champions.”

Local businessman Gary Blair said he watches the sale each yearand tries to purchase animals from the Dixie National Sale ofChampions. Typically, he said, there aren’t a lot of people fromLincoln County that make it that far.

“It’s a pretty big honor to have a champion animal in the DixieNational Sale of Champions,” he said. “I thought it would be goodto get some locals to come together to try to bid on or buy thatanimal.”

Blair sent out an e-mail to chamber of commerce members to tryto dredge up some interest in purchasing Big Time.

But this won’t be a Charlotte’s Web moment, where Big Time willretire in infamy. The steer will be on someone’s dinner plate in amatter of time.

“Those animals typically sell at a very high premium based onthe fact that they are champions, and that they go back to theyoung person for school and educational purposes,” Blair said.”Once they go into the sale, they become the property of the buyer.They can either use it for their own personal consumption, but mostof the time it’s donated to various charities.”

And what’s most exciting for Will’s parents is that this wasWill’s first time to raise a steer, and for a while, Big Timedidn’t like anyone messing with his head. For that reason, Willdidn’t want to raise another steer after this one.

But at one competition, his feelings about it changed.

“So I asked him what changed his mind,” said Wendy Watts. “Andhe said, ‘I really liked showing in front of the blue curtain.”

The Dixie National win was a landmark for Will as well.

“When they called me out as the winner, I was shocked,” he said.”I didn’t know how I felt before that, but I was really excitedabout it. It really shocked me.”

Big Time goes to auction sometime Thursday, and Blair predictshe could sell for around $10,000-$15,000.

“I’m ready to get him sold,” Will said.