Corsicana — Editor's note: This story modified on Sunday, March 24, 2013, to reflect the Grand Champion steer set a Youth Expo record, not a state record.
Navarro County set a new Youth Expo record Saturday when Lainie McGraw of Blooming Grove FFA saw her grand champion steer sell for $25,000.
The reserve champion steer sold for $5,500, and both of the top steers were bought by Frank Dunn, a longtime supporter and volunteer of the Youth Expo.
“It’s all for the kids,” Dunn said afterwards. “I’ve been involved with the sale for 35 or 40 years. My kids showed here, and I helped raise money for the barn. It’s a county effort.”
McGraw is a sophomore at Blooming Grove High School. She said the money will go into buying her steer for next year, and the rest will go into a college fund for when she attends Texas A&M University in a few years. McGraw also won the grand champion steer competition in 2012. Last year, her parents asked her to help pay for her steer for the first time, but it was well-advised, since she has to pay income taxes on the money made from the show.
Paige Allen, a senior at Rice High School, showed the reserve steer, named Sonny. She will attend Sam Houston State and major in business. “I’m not sure what kind, but business,” Allen said. Allen is also involved in cheerleading, volleyball, National Honors society and is a class officer. Her money will definitely go into college expenses, she said.
The students said the hardest animals to part with are the steers because so much time and effort is spent with the cattle, and they’re so gentle by the time the show rolls around.
The grand champion swine sold for $4,000 to Steve Petty of Carl White Chevrolet. It was shown by Raleigh Seilheimer, 17, a junior at Mildred High School.
Seilheimer had an emotional week, according to his mom, Kellie Cope.
“We had such a great week, but real emotional,” she explained. Last year, both Raleigh and his sister, Kalen Cope, showed pigs but they had the support of their grandfather Paul Mitchell. Mitchell died this past year, and every triumph, of which there were several, left them aware of their loss. Kalen won senior showmanship in swine, as well as third place.
This was Raleigh’s second year to show pigs. “It’s fun, and I like it,” he said. Raleigh also showed goats.
Lane Harrington showed both the grand champion lamb and the grand champion goat this year. The lamb sold for $3,500 to Todd McGraw, while the goat sold for $5,000 to Chris and Jody McSpadden. Lane is 18 and will attend Clarendon College to major in meat production and judging. “I’m going to be a livestock judge,” Harrington said.
The reserve lamb, shown by Keller Southard, sold for $3,000 to Micro Title. The reserve champion goat was shown by Rylie Melton, and it sold for $3,000 to Watkins Construction.
The grand champion chickens in the premium auction were understudies, but no one noticed. They sold for $4,000 and were purchased by Michael Crawford. The reserve champions sold for $3,000 to Chris Higgs of ColorTyme.
The top hens actually died, succumbing to stress and their size, explained Steely Southard, who raised them. Instead, she pulled in cohorts from the chicken room at home for the sale.
Southard is a junior at Blooming Grove High School. She also showed steers, pigs and sheep this year. She intends to go to Texas A&M, but hasn’t picked a specific major yet. “Something in the medical field?” she said.
The money she receives from the sale will go into a common bank account she shares with her brother, Keller, who had the reserve champion lamb. They share the work evenly in taking care of all the animals, as well as the proceeds, she explained.
The grand champion rabbits were bought for $4,500 by Wayne Nelson of Nelson Putman Propane, while the Reserve Champion rabbits were bought by the Leland Cook Memorial for $3,000.
The top rabbits were shown by Josh Murray, while Ashlea Murray showed the reserve champions.
All the top animals are being sent to Tarleton State University for research, none were resold or went to packing houses.
List of the Grand and Reserve Champions sold at the beginning of Saturday’s Youth Expo Sale:
Lainie McGraw, Blooming Grove FFA, grand champion steer – $25,000, Frank Dunn.
Raleigh Seilheimer, Mildred 4-H, grand champion swine – $4,000, Carl White’s Autoplex.
Lane Harrington, Frost FFA, grand champion lamb – $3,500, Todd McGraw.
Lane Harrington, Frost FFA, grand champion meat goat – $5,000, Chris and Jody McSpadden.
Steely Southard, Blooming Grove FFA, grand champion poultry – $4,000, Michael J. Crawford.
Joshua Murray, Mildred 4-H, grand champion meat pen rabbit – $4,500, Nelson Putman Propane.
Paige Allen, Rice FFA, reserve grand champion steer – $5,500, Frank Dunn.
Montana Steele, Dawson FFA, reserve grand champion swine – $3,500, Jordan Paint & Body.
Keller Southard, Blooming Grove FFA, reserve grand champion lamb – $3,000, MicroTitle.
Chelsea Vandiver, Corsicana FFA, reserve grand champion meat goat – $3,500, Watkins Construction.
Rylie Melton, Blooming Grove FFA, reserve grand champion poultry – $3,000, Colortyme.
Ashlea Murray, Mildred 4-H, reserve grand champion meat pen rabbit – $3,000, Leland Cook Memorial.
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