MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 10, 2013

Animals dolled up for sale

It’s their big night after a week of competition

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Four-leaf clovers studded Pee Wee the goat’s green bow tie Saturday night.

He needed more than luck as Kayleigh Boydston prepared him for the Muskogee Regional Junior Livestock Show’s premium sale. He needed dazzle.

Top competitors from the four-day regional show did what they could to present their animals in the best light for the buyers.

For Kayleigh, a third-grader in her first competitive show, that meant putting a bow tie and a scarf on Pee Wee, who won third in his class Tuesday.

“She worked so hard to get to tonight, so we want her to flash,” said Kayleigh’s aunt, Katie Henry of Muskogee.

Kayleigh said she took her goat on walks for 30 to 45 minutes a day.

“And I taught him how to brace,” she said, explaining that she braced by pressing her leg against the goat’s chest to help him stand straighter.

Easter eggs added color around the neck and tail of Sarina Keele’s white Charolais heifer.

“It’s almost Easter,” Sarina said as she calmed the heifer. Her blonde hair was almost as white as her heifer’s.

Dazzle might not be the only thing that could appeal to the buyers. The heifer won the All Other Breeds competition at Thursday’s cattle competition.

Not all animals needed fancy duds.

Gus Percifield of Fort Gibson FFA kept his Berkshire hog plain and simple. The hog took breed champion at the Muskogee County show last week and was breed champion this week. He said he expects to take the hog to the Oklahoma Youth Expo   this month in Oklahoma City.

“I plan to work with her as much as I can, make sure she always had food and water,” he said.

Premium sale buyer Mike Harper of Tahlequah said he remembers the hard work exhibitors put into their animals.

“I was in 4-H in 1982 and I’ve been to hundreds, maybe thousands of livestock shows,” he said.

Harper was buying for Tahlequah’s Modern Cleaners, where he is a manager.

“We do this mainly to support the kids,” he said. “You’re here to support your own county, but I’ve bough animals from other counties before.”

Buying an animal at the premium sale does not mean a buyer takes it home.  Harper said the young exhibitors keep the animals and the money.

“It’s mostly a gift for the kids,” he said.

Kristin Gilroy of Morris FFA, who showed the reserve breed champion Hereford heifer, said she takes the money from the sale and “usually buys another animal.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.