While the Clackamas County Fair — which, sadly, would have been held this week — was canceled due to the governor’s coronavirus executive orders, one of the core aspects of the annual event lives on in modified fashion.
The Clackamas County Junior Livestock Auction is being held virtually this year, keeping a 52-year-old tradition alive and allowing area youth to still get some pay-off from their months or even years of hard work and careful husbandry.
More than 200 lots are being offered through the online platform of Pacific Industrial Auctions and Appraisals, including beef steers, hogs, chickens and turkeys, lambs, goats, rabbits and much more — basically everything you’d see on display at the Clackamas County Fair.
Each lot includes photos and a video of the kids interacting with their prized market animals. This allows stock judges to view and award the best animals like during the traditional fair — but it’s not a bad way to spend a few minutes for those who are really missing their fair fix this week.
“The kids still had to make certain weight requirements with their animals, had to show their animals and be judged,” explained Chris Nichols, vice chairman of the executive board of the CCJLA. “While it’s not live and in-person, the youth had a fair showing and, certainly, a full fair preparation experience.”
The challenge the board and volunteers faced several months ago was no small feat: replicating an online version of an annual event involving at least 225 kids, a whole menagerie of animals and raising in the neighborhood of $400,000 each year.
The effort began immediately after the county fair board announced in May that this year’s fair would be canceled.
“While it’s been a lot of work, we’ve learned a lot, and I really think it’s been a great success,” Nichols said. “We are so grateful to the community and to our sponsors who have done so much for these kids, to help make sure they get the support that they deserve for their hard work.”
Nichols stressed that the effort was only possible, especially given the shortened timeline, thanks to hundreds of volunteers and families who made it possible.
“You know, I really want to make sure that message gets out there,” he said. “Because it’s not Chris doing this; it’s not just the sponsors doing this. It’s the whole community doing this and making that happen.”
The auction began Wednesday and closes starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. Bidders must register at piauctioneers.hibid.com. Each lot will have its own auction clock and will be closed on a staggered schedule 60 seconds apart.
In the event of a bid in last 5 minutes of the auction on any individual lot, an additional 5 minutes is added to the clock of that lot only. This will occur as long as there is bidding activity on that lot.
Things can get moving pretty fast, the auctioneers warn, and advise that bidders pay attention and bid early or you may miss out. Once the item closes, you will see a “won” icon on the lot that shows that you are the winning bidder.
Those who are not interested in, you know, having a cow can still support the nation’s future farmers by contributing an “add-on” donation that goes to the kid. For more information, check out the online auction site here, or check out the CCJLA’s website.
The auction is put on each year by the Clackamas County Junior Livestock Auction (CCJLA) Committee — a group of agribusiness-minded individuals representing 4-H, Future Farmers of America and the community at large.
The committee members are dedicated to help with, and provide a positive learning experience for Clackamas County 4-H and FFA youth to market their animal at the Clackamas County Fair.
A number of local businesses and organizations have supported the auction and the kids who participate this year to help ensure the event goes on, including Harvest Capital, Canby Kiwanis, Les Schwab, Wilco and Hilltop Mall.