Some 600 people packed the Civic Center arena for Saturday night's Sale of Champions at the Hopkins County Junior Livestock Show. The sale has brought in more than $260,000, at least double the show's sale record.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Jr. livestock sale exceeds wildest expectations

Projects bring in more than double previous record at Sale of Champions

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

Feb. 26, 2008 - The people behind this year's Northeast Texas Livestock Association's Junior Livestock Show had high hopes they could exceed last year's Sale of Champions total of $130,000.

But they never imagined this.

As of Tuesday morning, they were still counting all the money that was coming in, and the total had gone over $260,000 -- at least double the most the sale has ever brought in.

Brad Johnson, one of NETLA's members and manager of Northeast Texas Co-op, said they "had an inkling" the total would be higher this year from the amount of interest around the county.

"To go this high was a big surprise," Johnson said this morning. "It's just phenomenal."

A total of 131 youths representing six Hopkins County school districts made the Sale of Champions this year, about half of the 266 young men and women who entered a combined 309 projects for the show.

The final total probably won't be known until the week. Johnson said buyers were still coming buy with add-on money for the projects.

"When I left Saturday night we were using a figure of $25,000-plus," Johnson said. "Yesterday morning we were above $260,000. We're just sitting back now and putting the pieces together."

The Sale of Champions was such as success due to the return of faithful buyers, some who hadn't been back in a while and some who'd never taken part before.

"We had both buyers from the past that had clearly gathered funds from outside the county to utilize in their bidding, and we also had some new folks come in," Johnson said.

The sheer size of the crowd -- "over 600 is probably a real conservative number" -- played into the elevated amount of money involved.

"In a Sale of Champions auction, if you only have one person interested in a project, then the value isn't going to go up," Johnson explained. "When you have two or three people interested in a project, then you've got a horse race going."

And that happened more than a few times.

"We had quite a bit of bidding interest in most of the projects," Johnson said. "There were several instances where they were going back and forth. And it just never let up."

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