Mayor Betsy Price made the winning bid for a steer at the Fort Worth Stock Show on Saturday.
“No public money was spent,” she emphasized with a hardy laugh, speaking at a news conference following the sale of the Stock Show’s grand champion steer, Rocco, a European crossbred shown by Mikala Grady, 15, of Grandview.
The steer was purchased for a record-tying $240,000 by Price and Women Steering Business, a bidding group whose founding members include.
Other grand champion exhibitors also took home nice paydays, including: Tristanne Rasco, of Silverton, whose barrow was purchased for $42,000 by Standard Meat Co; Trey Bates, of Leakey, whose lamb was bought for $40,000 by Ladies on the Lamb; and Koda Joy Davis, of Sonora, whose goat was sold for $40,000 to Dr. Bill Bonnell.
For the mayor and the more than 170 members of the group, the purchase of the grand champion steer has long been planned.
“We said five years ago, ‘In five years we are going to buy the grand champion, if it is a woman,’ ” said Price. “And this year it was, so we made good on our promise.”
Price said the group has raised $900,000 to spend on Sale of Champions purchases in its five years. It spent $230,000 at the sale last year and a total of $260,000 on Saturday.
“We want to promote everybody,” said Price, who had the honor of waving the bidding paddle for her group at the sale. “But this is particularly for these gals [who are showing] to see women come together and do something like this.”
‘She works her tail off’
The bidding at Saturday’s sale soared at its usual blistering pace as the reddish brown, 1,388-pound steer lumbered around the Stock Show’s West Arena sale ring. But when $240,000 was reached, the bidders went silent. Auctioneer Doak Lambert pleaded for $250,000, and then rocked back to $245,000. But a record-setting bid was not to be found.
“It all happens so fast,” said Mike Berry, president of Hillwood Properties, the Ross Perot Jr. firm that purchased the grand champion steer in 2003, 2004 and last year. “But there is a point in time when you ... tip your hat and let them take the lead. It was already a great price. So it was really great to see them take that leadership.”
Hillwood did not sit quietly through the entire sale, however. The company purchased the reserve grand champion, Pedro, who was shown by Claire McCormick, 16, of Canyon, for $100,000.
Claire and Mikala are best friends, so both were happy with the results. And they both share a work ethic that goes beyond their years, their fathers said.
“She works her tail off,” said Claire’s father, Jay McCormick, who operates McCormick Livestock in Canyon. “She’s quit all sports. This is pretty much her life.”
“Mikala’s work ethic has always surpassed other kids her age. She’s got a drive like no other,” said her father, Brad Grady.
Mikala’s big payday was just another step in a livestock show career that has seen an amazing number of victories, including having a grand champion barrow at the Stock Show in 2015 and reserve champion honors for a barrow and a steer at Denver’s National Stock Show just last month.
“I work really hard at this. I love doing it too, so I guess that helps. But it’s a lot of work,” said Grady, who is a ninth-grader at Grandview High School and a member of Grandview 4-H.
And she’ll continue to show livestock, but not in Fort Worth.
Since she has shown a grand champion barrow and steer, she cannot show those livestock in Fort Worth again.
Rocco the steer, who acted a little annoyed and agitated as he was walked around the sale ring, was donated to the Fort Worth Arlington Heights High School 4-H program, where he will be studied and, if the school chooses, resold, Women Steering Business member Becky Renfro Borbolla said.
‘She loves it’
The two girls who showed the top barrows also share a bond.
Tristanne Rasco, 15, and Chandler Schulte, 15, who earned $20,000 for her barrow, are members of the 806 Show Team.
The group of 75 4-H and FFA students — named for the Panhandle area code — come from about eight towns between Amarillo and Lubbock.
Rasco, a freshman at Valley High School in Turkey, said she started this year with 35 pigs, and culled them down to 16 before picking one for Fort Worth. Standard Meat Co. won the bid, and its representative said the hog will be donated to Arlington Heights’ agriculture program.
Raising a prize-winning project takes the right feed and a willingness to work, said Rasco, who has enjoyed a handful of wins, including the reserve champion duroc at last year’s Stock Show.
“I try to work harder than everybody else,” Rasco said.
Her parents, Mark and Jenna Standlee, said that’s an understatement.
“She’s out there working with them [after school] from 4 p.m. until we make her come in,” Mark Standlee said. “She loves it.”
Schulte, a sophomore at Nazareth High School, started with 12 pigs and culled them down to eight for the series of shows that the 806 Show Team has on its itinerary. She was surprised when Rodney Summerville, representing Endeavor Acquisitions — a mineral and royalty acquisition company in Fort Worth — bid $20,000 for her pig.
“I thought I’d get about $15,000,” Schulte said.
Correspondent Terry Evans contributed to this report.
Grand champion steer prices
2017 Sale of Champions
Grand champion steer: $240,000
Shown by Mikala Grady of Grandview
Bought by Women Steering Business
Reserve grand champion steer: $100,000
Shown by Claire McCormick of Canyon
Bought by Hillwood
Grand champion barrow: $42,000
Shown by Tristanne Rasco of Silverton
Bought by Standard Meat Co.
Reserve grand champion barrow: $20,000
Shown by Chandler Schulte of Nazareth
Bought by Endeavor Acquisitions, LLC
Grand champion lamb: $40,000
Shown by Trey Bates of Leakey
Bought by Ladies on the Lamb
Reserve grand champion lamb: $35,000
Shown by Cameron Grace Crenwelge of Comfort
Bought by Ladies on the Lamb
Grand champion wether goat: $40,000
Shown by Koda Joy Davis of Sonora
Bought by Dr. Bill Bonnell
Reserve grand champion goat: $25,000
Shown by Brigg Hawkins of Cleburne
Bought by American Aero FTW