UCo Fair 2020

A camera live-streams market lamb showings on the first day of the 2020 Umatilla County Fair Modified Youth Livestock Show on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center in Hermiston. Youth dropped off their animals and volunteers showed them to the judges to keep in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

The Umatilla County Fair may have looked a lot different this year, but area youths were still able to see rewards from their work raising an animal for the fair.

The Youth Livestock Auction, where 4-H and FFA students auction off their animals each year, raised a total of $585,000 after factoring all bump and add-on dollars that individuals and businesses could continue to add after the live (virtual) auction was over.

That total was just below 2019’s record-breaking auction of $615,000 according to a news release from the fair, but 2020 had only 208 lots compared with 265 lots in 2019.

“It is just amazing to see the support of our communities throughout the county and beyond,” sale superintendent Marie Linnell said in a statement.

According to the news release, the Umatilla County Fair’s sale committee reached out to previous buyers before this year’s auction, “and it was evident on those calls that the community was ready to support the kids.”

Some indicated that COVID-19 had impacted their business so severely that they would not be able to commit as much money as usual to the auction, but others said they would commit more to make up for it. Some businesses placed bids online as they watched the live feed of the auction, while others gave proxy bidding power to the small group of sale staff who were there in person.

According to the news release, the bump program — which gives people an opportunity to donate money to a pool used to increase the sale price of animals that sold for less — added a record $65,000 to 169 of the 208 lots.

Photos of the animals and participating youths and other information can be found at www.umatillacountyfair.net/youth-livestock-auction or the Umatilla County Fair Youth Livestock Auction Facebook page.

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