Every year it becomes more expensive to breed high-end show animals capable of competing at a high level. In response, sponsors of the Oklahoma Youth Expo 2022 livestock show, held March 7-18 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, upped the ante with their financial support of these 4-H and FFA members at a record night at the sale of Champions.
Of the more than 13,000 animals on display during OYE, 212 market animals were selected for the champion sale and a total of $1.5 million was awarded to exhibitors in the premium sale. In addition, $400,000 was given to exhibitors through scholarships.
“We appreciate the time, effort and energy young people put into their animals, so it’s great to continue to increase the amount of funds raised for them,” said Tyler Norvell, President of the Onward Foundation. . “They are the most dedicated kids, and they deserve nothing less than the best.”
Grand Champion Steer, a crossbreed, was owned by Sadie Wynn of Newcastle, Oklahoma, and was sold for $102,000 to a conglomerate of buyers including: Bob Funk and Express Ranches, Livestock Nutrition, Bank of Western Oklahoma, McAfee and Taft, Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and Generator Superstore.
Cade Rea, a senior from Hydro Eakly FFA exhibited Grand Champion Barrow. His pork was purchased by Westgate Marketplace, Bank of Western Oklahoma, Young Farmers and Ranchers of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma, Community Hydro and Randy Renberger for a whopping $52,500. The community of Hydro, Oklahoma even arranged a welcome home escort with emergency vehicles for Rea when he arrived in town late one night from the big drive.
Sayde Allen of Canute 4-H, scored a double win, when she exhibited both Grand Champion Market Lamb and Grand Champion Market Goat. His lamb was purchased for $15,000 by a group of buyers including CSTK, the OKC Fairgrounds and the State Fair of Oklahoma. His goat was also purchased for $15,000 by McDonalds throughout Oklahoma, the Diamond Hats and the Bank of Western Oklahoma.
Hard Work and Lucky Penny
Every year there are encouraging stories around this youth livestock show, and 2022 was no different. Tipton FFA member Caroline Gaye was in the spotlight at the Night of Stars Gilt Sale. His Duroc, Lucky Penny, placed third overall in the Duroc show and won 46th place in the sale, where the top 2% of gilts are sold to pig farmers across the country. In addition to raising an outstanding pig, this 16-year-old’s story is even more inspiring because she is a resident of Tipton Children’s Home and saved $500 to buy Penny last year and the prepared for the show season. This children’s home is unique because it offers residents the opportunity to join the local FFA or 4-H and get involved in animal husbandry projects.
“The Night of Stars Gilt Sale is a really good opportunity, and it’s a great opportunity just to do it and show it here at OYE,” Gaye said. “For me, it shows that I can do it, even if I won’t do it again next year.”
Gaye quickly became FFA and loved the responsibility of caring for her pig and improving her showmanship skills. There is no doubt that his determination paid off. His gilding was purchased for $17,500 during the Night of Stars sale. Gaye said she plans to use the money to attend college to become a registered nurse. With hard work, persistence, and some Lucky Penny fortune, Gaye landed in the winner’s circle and inspired young people across the state to work hard and good things will happen.