FORT WORTH -- The annual Sale of Champions was almost 5 hours old when Wyatt Blaylock walked his steer into the Watt Arena.
His was not a Cadillac steer like the ones shown earlier Saturday morning, earning six-figure paychecks at the Fort Worth Stock Show's ending event.
No, Blaylock's steer was the 278th animal shown at the sale -- out of 283 -- and one of 12 10th-place finishers in the European crossbred show.
The steers in his group were bringing $4.50 to $6.50 a pound, and the bidding was quick and uneventful as the sale wound down. Most of the rowdy crowd, infused with cold beer and bloody marys, had been gone for hours.
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But some key members of the Stock Show Syndicate, a group of local businessmen and -women that raises millions of dollars for the annual junior livestock sale, were determined to make this day special for Blaylock.
The bidding started on his steer at $4 -- no surprise there -- but it progressed quickly to $10 before ending at $17.50 a pound, for a total of $20,895 to cheers and applause from the small crowd left in the arena.
Blaylock was nearly speechless.
"I don't know what to say," said Blaylock, 14, of Adkins, a small town south of San Antonio.
Syndicate members got to know the youth last year and discovered that his father, Anthony Blaylock, who had taught him the ropes of raising cattle, could not attend the Stock Show because he was bedridden with brain cancer.
Wyatt Blaylock was determined to show in Fort Worth, he said, because that's what his dad wanted.
"My son taught Wyatt to always finish what you start," said Diana Bregman, his grandmother. "Even after he got cancer he would go to shows with Wyatt -- to San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Odessa ... but he couldn't make the one in February" in Fort Worth.
In April, five years after being diagnosed, Anthony Blaylock died. He was 36.
Gary Ray, a past chairman of the syndicate, kept up with Wyatt Blaylock over the year and was determined to help him when he returned.
"He deserves this," Ray said.
It's a good deed that is regularly practiced, but not publicized, by the syndicate.
Blaylock lived with his father (his parents were divorced), and his days started early, at 5:45 a.m. -- just the way his father taught him.
"Have to feed and water the cattle," he said. "Have to do that every day."
Then he would come back to the house, clean up and begin to take care of his father.
"He'd get his father up, help get him dressed, help him with his meds," Bregman said. "He was truly amazing with his father."
Blaylock, who now lives with his mother, shrugged, indicating that it was no big deal.
But others knew.
"I heard his story last year," said Kim Owens, a regional manager for Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House who made the winning bid for Wyatt's steer. "Wyatt's a good kid and this is what's important."
Though Owens made the bid, a group of syndicate members pitched in to buy the steer, Ray said.
"A lot of people paid for this steer," he said, explaining that it was done in honor of former syndicate Chairmen Don Weeks and Frank Neve. "That's how we raised this money."
Blaylock plans to use the money to help pay for an education at Texas A&M University.
He said that if he could tell his dad something, he'd say, "Thanks for everything you taught me."
Lee Williams, 817-390-7840