Colorado bidders step up big for youth in agriculture

Auction-goers were chomping at the bit to open their wallets and support young men and women in agriculture during the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.

The generosity was evident at the 2022 Auction of Junior Livestock Champions, where the grand champion steer sold for a record-high $160,000. The top eight champion animals tallied sales of $519,000. The reserve grand champion hog sold for an impressive $50,000, breaking the previous record by $14,000. The grand champion goat set a record sale of $44,000.

The money invested supports the junior exhibitors that raised the animal as they plan for their agricultural future and college educations. In addition, a portion of the proceeds supports the National Western Scholarship Trust. The Scholarship Trust funds agriculture studies and rural medicine scholarships at colleges throughout Colorado and Wyoming. This year, 110 students received funds to aid their education. For more information regarding the NW Scholarship Trust, visit

The top six junior livestock animals were auctioned off live on 9NEWS and the results were:

• The grand champion steer, fondly known as Yellers, weighed 1,358 pounds and sold for $160,000 to Ames Construction Company. Shown by 12-year-old Rhylee Rodgers from Searsboro, Iowa, Rodgers hopes to attend college to study embryology one day.

• Junior exhibitor, Aven Horn, Anson, Texas, showcased her 1,330-pound reserve grand champion steer, named Bicardi. Horn is 16-years-old and wants to attend college at Texas Tech to study agriculture and play volleyball. The buyer, Transwest Trucks, Inc., purchased the steer for $100,000.

• Junior exhibitor Cole Phillips’ grand champion hog, weighing 272 pounds, sold for $60,000 to Occidental Petroleum. Cole, rom Bullard, Texas, and is no stranger to the junior auction ring. He was the exhibitor for the reserve grand champion hog in 2016. He has set his sights on starting his own construction business.

• The 271-pound reserve champion Hog, “CJ,” was bought by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce for $50,000. Nineteen-year-old Alia Rodgers, Napa, California, was emotional as she thanked her buyers. This was her first time exhibiting at the National Western Stock Show and was a dream come true for her.

• The grand champion lamb, shown by 19-year-old Colt Randall of Canute, Oklahoma, sold for $42,000 to Wagner Equipment Co. Randall plans to attend Seminole State to play baseball and study ag business or ag science.

• Bruce and Bev Wagner purchased the reserve grand champion lamb for $40,000, tying the record set in 2020. Twelve-year-old junior exhibitor Sayde Allen, Elk City, Oklahoma, showed the lamb. Allen has two champion animals in the show, as she also won grand champion goat. Her grand champion goat sold for a record-high $44,000 to Babson Farms.

• The reserve grand champion goat named Frank after Frank Sinatra for being the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All-Time) sold for $23,000 to the TKM Foundation, Kevin McNicholas. “Frank” was shown by Jack Hoyle, Taylor, Arkansas, who celebrated the crowning of his reserve grand champion goat on his 18th birthday.