Given the circumstances and challenges presented, the first-ever online Ponoka 4-H District Beef Sale was a great success.
Restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic forced changes to the usual beef show and sale format, but the only real down side this year was the inability to get together for the experience.
“It was a very different year but all of the members jumped on board and did a great job showcasing their projects. There were a variety of pictures shared and great videos that showed off their projects and hard work,” said Leah Cline, secretary for the Ponoka District 4-H Beef Committee, in an email.
“It was fun for the members to be able to see each other’s projects too, although, we sure miss being able to be together. We are again very proud of the quality, finished animals the members presented.”
A total of 71 bidders participated in the auction, thanks to VJV Auctions providing the venue and online access, with 271 bids recorded. There were also a vast number of others that logged on simply to watch the auction.
“We averaged $3.63 per pound and want to send out a very large thank you to all of the supporters that got online and bid,” Cline said.
“The community definitely stepped up and embraced the online auction and it was an excellent outcome for an unprecedented change in how the sale was run and promoted. We should all be grateful to live in a community where businesses and community members always step up to support one another, especially during difficult times.”
Overall, about $90,000 was spent over and above the market price and given back to the various clubs, with Jenalee Stewart from the West Ponoka Beef 4-H Club as the high seller at $4.60/lbs.
Despite the lack of the show portion, judging of the steers was still conducted — just in pens with no members or owners.
The Interclub awards were swept by the West Ponoka 4-H Beef Club — Grand Champion Steer to Cohen Thalen, Reserve Champion Steer to Grady Topham and rate of gain (4.76 lbs./day) to Kalen Thalen.
Individual club awards were also announced.
The East Ponoka 4-H Beef Club awards went to Brooklyn Olson (Club Champion Steer), Quaid McKinney (Club Reserve Champion Steer) and Jonathan Yadlos (rate of gain, 4.0 lbs/day). The West Ponoka awards were handed to Cohen Thalen (Club Champion Steer), Grady Topham (Club Reserve Champion Steer) and Kaleb Thalen (rate of gain).
Charity steer raffle
The winner of the 2020 Ponoka 4-H Charity Steer Raffle, held May 5, was Kari Kokus from Ponoka.
Kokus opted to sell the steer to Monica and Jeff Harvey.
In spite of challenges selling tickets this year, the raffle sold out for the first time in years. This year the proceeds will go to the DoMoreAg Foundation, which supports the mental health of agricultural producers.