Grand champion goes for $200,000 at Stock Show

02/08/2014 1:30 PM

11/12/2014 3:52 PM

Cowtown has been a cash cow — OK, a cash steer — for Flint Newman.

The Stanton High School senior sold his grand champion steer for $200,000 on Saturday morning at the Fort Worth Stock Show’s annual Sale of Champions, giving Newman his second big payday in two years.

Last year, he sold his reserve grand champion, Blackie, for $105,000, to Coors Distribution Co. of Fort Worth.

Coors stepped up again Saturday to buy Here I Am, a well-behaved and big-boned European crossbred steer who weighed 1,335 pounds.

The annual junior livestock sale features the best 295 steers, barrows, lambs and goats — out of 11,000 entries — that were exhibited during Stock Show.

By end of bidding Saturday, the 2014 Stock Show’s final day, the sale raised a record $3,305,919, outpacing last year’s $3,126,000, the previous record.

Newman was grinning ear to ear after the sale, knowing well that his immediate future is now funded.

“I’m going to Tech!” he said. “This will pay for a pretty good education.”

Before heading off to Texas Tech, however, Newman will do a little pole bending. He is the defending District 4-2A pole vault champion.

“I’m a pretty good pole vaulter, but I’m not good enough for a scholarship,” Newman said. “I’ll probably major in ag communications. It’ll be ag something. I’ll more than likely stay in ranching.”

Newman’s family runs about 300 head of cattle on their place in Stanton, and he said he had plenty of help getting Here I Am in tiptop shape.

“And I needed a lot,” he said.

Mandy Newman countered that her son is the hardest-working kid she knows.

“He does this because he loves it,” she said.

Coors’ executive Tim Anfin said buying steers has been an annual endeavor for the company for more than 30 years.

“This is a way of life,” Anfin said. “We’re helping to keep that going.”

Here I Am will be sent to the Fort Worth Zoo, where he will be on display for a year.

“The zoo keeps it for a year, then sends it off to be processed,” Anfin said. “The proceeds will fund zoo operations. But for a year, you can come out and see it in the Texas exhibit. I think the reserve grand champion will be there, too.”

Indeed, the reserve grand champion steer, Domino, is also headed just down University Drive for a life of luxury, albeit short.

Shown by Jayton Cogburn of Eastland, Domino also commanded a six-figure price. Hillwood Properties paid $140,000 for the 1,339-pound European crossbred.

Doing double duty

After the two top steers were sold, Claire McCormick of Canyon, 13, strolled her grand champion barrow around the Watt Arena.

Her 270-pound crossbred hog was bought for $45,000 by Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Bass.

“I'm really happy, and really blessed to be in this place,” said McCormick, a seventh-grader at Canyon Junior High School. “I've shown here since I was 2 years old.”

She plans to put back most of the money for college, but there are other priorities too.

“A bunch of it will go into my steer fund,” she said, adding that she talked her father, Jay McCormick, into letting her show her first steer this year.

That steer, a European crossbred, was one of 15 third-place finishers in its class. He sold for $8,752 on Saturday.

She plans to show another barrow at next year's Stock Show, along with a steer.

“It's really competitive here, and also really encouraging,” she said.

That’s $377 per pound

For Courtney Millsap, the hard work definitely paid off.

Her grand champion wether goat, all 106 pounds of him, was bought Saturday by Larry White Jr. for $40,000. That comes out to $377 per pound, a number not lost on Millsap, who will use her winnings to help pay for college.

The Greenville High School senior plans to attend Texas A&M.

“This is the first time I’ve won a big major,” said Millsap, 18, who competes yearly at all the big shows — in Denver, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

She said she has seven other goats “on feed” right now that will be shown this year.

Millsap works afternoons at the Greenville school district’s Sixth Grade Center as an office assistant before going to her home in nearby Quinlan to tend to her goats.

“It’s school, work and then go to the barn,” she said.

She started showing at an early age and is the only student in the Greenville High School FFA who works goats.

“It was something a friend of my dad’s was doing so I started and I’ve loved it ever since,” Millsap said.

Little Elliott, the top lamb

The grand champion lamb, Little Elliott, shown by Teah Patton of Silverton, a tiny town between Lubbock and Amarillo, sold for $34,000 to the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Foundation.

Patton said she has been showing lambs for nine years, and this is her biggest win yet.

“I’m going to put it toward my college fund,” said Patton, who is undecided where she wants to attend.

She said it wasn’t easy letting go of her prized lamb but understands that’s part of the business.

As little sister Tally, 13, stood at her side, saying, “Give him a kiss,” Teah Patton did just that, leaning over and pecking Little Elliott on top of his head.

“It’s hard to say goodbye,” she said.

A $29,000 payday from Bass

While much of the focus is on the grand and reserve champion steers, some buyers prefer to buy lesser-known livestock.

Fort Worth businessman Ed Bass, the Stock Show’s board chairman, scouted out the steer he wanted to buy before Saturday’s auction started.

“I’m looking for someone who’s done it through hard work, rather than from the family flooding a lot of money into it,” Bass said. “Some families aren’t able to put a lot of money into a steer, and pretty much everything the sale makes goes into the kid’s education and future.”

The kid who caught his attention, Seth Byers of Decatur, “raised it from their own cow that showed in our junior heifer show years back,” Bass said.

Bass paid $29,000 for Byers’ steer, the reserve breed champion in the American crossbred class.

‘Supporting young ladies’

About 70 members of the Women Steering Business of Fort Worth also had a particular kind of exhibitor in mind as they created a decidedly crimson section in the seats overlooking the West Arena.

“We’re actually supporting young ladies who are raising steers,” club spokeswoman Becky Renfro Borbolla said. “We came with $45,000 last year. This year we brought $140,000.”

When Lillie Skiles, 9, led her breed champion Hereford into the ring, Renfro Borbolla bid $50,000 for her steer, Shaggy.

The club kept bidding after buying Shaggy, picking up Sayler Beerwinkle’s reserve breed champion Hereford out of Erath for $30,000 and Kate Hilburn’s reserve breed champion shorthorn out of Denver City for $24,000.

Lillie got a little misty-eyed after saying goodbye to Shaggy.

“She knows where this steer is going,” Renfro Borbolla said. “It breaks my heart that she has to say goodbye.”

Staff writer Shirley Jinkins contributed to this report.

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