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SOLD! Lincoln County Sale of Champions raises $26,000 for local youth livestock handlers

Kaitlyn Kyzar has a goat as big as she is.

The Loyd Star fifth-grader has raised him since he was a kid, and now he’s filled out and ready to show. His body is white as snow, his face the color of dirt. He’s a hard, muscular animal. She calls him “Danger.”

“My daddy said to name him Danger for other people to watch out for him,” she said. “He’s pretty rough. Sometimes he tries to push me down.”

Monday night, Kyzar walked Danger into the pen at the Lincoln Civic Center and put him through his paces in front of 200 bidders, pulling his short leash and whispering nice things to make him behave. The auctioneer hollered out three minutes of gibberish while folks shouted out dollar figures, raised their folded programs in the air or winked and nodded at the roving bid assistants.

When it was over Danger was sold to Farmbelt Equipment for $875. He was worth $162.

“Taking care of those animals teaches these kids work ethic, and we want to help them see the rewards from that work,” said Farmbelt’s Clark Calcote. “I don’t know exactly what we spent. I haven’t heard. We’re just proud to support these kids.”

Farmbelt was one of 42 businesses and individuals who paid $26,000 to 26 local youth showing their animals at the 21st annual Lincoln County Sale of Champions, a livestock auction that gives local 4-H and Future Farmers of America members a market for their show animals.

This year’s final bid amount exceeded last year’s by $4,000, and every animal auctioned — 13 goats, seven lambs, five hogs and a steer — brought in far above its market value.

“That’s exactly what we were looking for, what we wanted for these kids,” said Lincoln County 4-H Extension Agent Jennifer Williams.

Lincoln County is one of only a handful of counties in Mississippi that holds its own livestock auction. The young handlers who sell their animals locally are guaranteed cash for purchasing next year’s show animal or saving for college, with the understanding sales are voided if they get better prices at the 4-H district livestock show Jan. 28 or the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions Feb. 8.

Sale committee member Billy Sumrall, an agriculture instructor at Loyd Star, said there are more than 40 Lincoln County youth involved in livestock programs — only market animals, not breeding animals, were auctioned Monday night.

“This is unique. Learning how to take care of animals teaches work ethic, discipline, stewardship, cooperation amongst their peers,” he said. “These last few weeks, with snow and ice, we have young kids getting out of bed in the cold to take care of their animals, no matter if it’s nine degrees outside. It teaches them so many things — life lessons they can apply anywhere.”

For those reasons, farm families and the business men and women who support them opened up their wallets Monday night.

Chris Smith, of Smith Painting and Contracting, represented a handful of bidders who weren’t present at the sale. He’d gone to several of his employees and other businesses to get their support, and he sat at a table near the animal pen bidding all night long, his coat pocket full of signed checks.

His first purchase was a hog raised by Wesson seventh-grader Jaylynn Cloy. “Blue” was worth $135.36. Smith bought him for $775.

“We’re trying to run the prices up on these people so they’ll pay more for the animals,” he said after his first purchase. “These kids will be your future, here. These are really good kids involved in this.”

Jaylynn was happy with the price Blue fetched. She said it had taken a lot of effort to train him.

“I walk him up the road every day,” she said.

Jaylynn’s sister, Breelyn, showed a 213-pound hog with a market value of $153.36. Brookhaven attorney Joseph Durr bought him for $1,050.

“This is my first time here. I’ve been invited every year, and last year I made a donation but I decided I would go tonight,” Durr said. “I just wanted to support this group.”

Brookhaven’s Gary Blair, a sale committee member, purchased a third Cloy hog. The retired vice president of Southern Ag Credit was part of a triumvirate that included the Lion’s Club and Legacy Land. They coughed up $775.

“Even in retirement, I want to keep coming back and giving back,” Blair said. “It goes for a great cause.”

Loyd Star sophomore Trey Smith showed a 145-pound lamb named “Luke.” Luke was worth $253.75, but brought in $575.

“I’m real happy with that. I was kind of expecting a little less,” Smith said. “Tonight has given me more show experience, and a little cash never hurts.”