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Pieces come together to make 39th Annual Market Animal Show and Sale a success

Pieces come together to make 39th Annual  Market Animal Show and Sale a success Pieces come together to make 39th Annual  Market Animal Show and Sale a success

When it comes to animal agriculture, there are always chores to be done.

This is true regardless of if there is a howling blizzard or a scorching summer heat wave. The animals must be fed, cared for and their areas kept clean. No matter what the season or what other plans people may have in mind, the chores continue. Few people know this better than those who have grown up on farms or tending animals.

Last weekend, the hard work of area farm youth paid off with the 39th Annual Market Animal Show and Sale (MASS) held on July 25. The young people were able to show their market pigs, lambs and beef animals and with the support of local businesses and individuals were able to able to sell the animals at auction.

This year’s sale almost didn’t take place. When restrictions were put into place in early spring to try and help contain the COVID-19 pandemic many businesses suffered shutdowns and many events had to be altered or canceled. When the decision was made in early June to cancel the 2020 Taylor County Fair, youth in the MASS program had already invested months of work as well as financial resources into their project animals.

While held in conjunction with the Taylor County Fair, MASS operates separately and committee members looked at options on how they could hold a show while ensuring the safety of the participants, volunteers and bidders. Premier Livestock and Auctions reached out to members of the MASS committee offering their facility near Withee as a location for this year’s sale.

As part of its facilities, Premier also had experience with holding auctions that were a mixture of in-person bidders as well as online. This provided an opportunity to reduce the number of people present for the auction and allow social distancing while maintaining the high interest of the bidders.

The next piece of the puzzle came together with longtime auctioneer Randy Stockwell of Stockwell Auction and Real Estate agreeing to lead the sale at a remote location. Stockwell, along with his wife, “Beaner,” have been fixtures serving as the auctioneers at the annual MASS auction since the 1980s. BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS

The third piece of the puzzle that came together to help make the event possible, was for Pinter Packing of Dorchester to be willing to take and process the market animals sold at the auction. MASS organizers noted there is high demand for meat processing with schedules full into next year at many locations.

The final pieces of the puzzle were the ongoing hard work of the young people involved in the MASS program and the outpouring of support from the business community who, despite the disruptions caused by COVID- 19, came out with open checkbooks in support of the next generation of the area’s agricultural leaders.

As in the past, many participants made donations from the sale of their animals. Donations totalled $3,300.

Claire Drier brushes her market steer in preparation for heading into the show ring. Making sure the animals were well-groomed is an important part of showing them.BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS

Kristen Brandner took first place in the senior showmanship competition with her market steer.BRIAN WILSON/THE STAR NEWS