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Deschutes County Youth Livestock Auction goes on, despite pandemic

No kids or animals were on hand Saturday, but the sales went on

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- No pigs? No problem.

Despite the cancellation of this Deschutes County Fair, the Deschutes County Youth Livestock Auction went on Saturday -- but without the youths and their livestock on hand.

Lauren Neumann of Bend has raised her pig, Miley, for auction since March.

"She's been my little quarantine buddy the past few months, so it's a little sad to see her go," Neumann said.

However, unlike her last five auctions, she wasn't actually get to see her pig be sold in person.

Because of the pandemic, the youth livestock auction for 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) young people moved online, and had numerous safety protocols in place this year.

And that meant the event missed its main attractions, so popular with fairgoers: the kids and the animals.

The format of the auction was also a little different.

Bidders had three different options to participate in the auction. They could come to the main fairground facility, where the actual live auction was taking place.

They could instead come to the other conference halls, where they could participate by livestream. Or bidders could watch the stream and take part live from their home computers.

Auctioneers had to navigate all three avenues of bidding to secure the sale.

But like past auctions, each sale earned the the 4-H and FFA kids money, and most will put it in savings to help pay for college.

Olivia Rooker, also of Bend, sold her steer, Jack, on Saturday for $5,500.

"I'm super-grateful to the Deschutes County Fair Board,” Rooker said, “and all the volunteers, advisors and club leaders who were so determined to put this on for us, because it is so important to us and our market animals that we raise all year."

Nuemann, who will be a senior at Mountain View High School this fall, said she missed the opportunity to be there with her animal this year, but she should get one more chance in 2021.

"We're just happy we get to sell, and hopefully we'll be able to get back at it in person, hopefully next year," she said.

At least the show went on this year.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.


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