County fairs have been cancelled this year, but junior livestock auctions will go on, with the addition of some changes to safeguard from Covid-19.
“We are not having any indoor exhibits, nor any flower exhibits,” said Marcie Wallin, who helps run the fair in Torrance County. “It’s strictly livestock. Sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle.”
Wallin said Torrance County will still have an auction, but with “strict crowd control.”
“[The show] is closed to the public,” she said. “The animals and their exhibitors will be shown live, but it is closed to the public and it is only the exhibitors and their immediate families that are allowed.”
“The sheep and goat exhibitors bring their animals on Tuesday and they show on Wednesday and they leave,” Wallin continued. “That way we are crowd controlling. We’re limiting the number of families that are here at any one time. So, all those goats and sheep leave, and the evening that they leave, the pigs and all the cattle come in and then they show the next day and they leave unless they made the sale. And then the goats and lambs that do make the sale will come back on Friday morning.”
As far as the auction goes, Wallin said that is by invite only. She also said the best way to get an invite is to call a board member.
Wallin said the county is unsure whether there will be an option to bid online, but there is a discussion on the topic.
The junior livestock show and auction in Torrance County starts Aug. 11 and ends Aug. 14.
In Santa Fe County, the livestock show will use a hybrid model, according to Bruce Martin, Chairman of the Santa Fe County Fair Board.
“We are going to allow in-person bidding but it’s going to be invitation only so we can monitor how many [people are in attendance],” he said.
Martin said the invites are based on attendees from last year’s auction, but that there will be a link to bid on the animals online, and the online link is open to everyone who wants to bid.
Martin said the county fair board is doing its best to keep everyone safe, and the kids will not be allowed at the auctions.
“[We’ll] have a staggered drop off … and then auction starts at 4 p.m.,” he said. “It’ll just be the livestock committee and the fair board that is handling the animals.”
The auction will start Aug. 7 at 4 p.m., and the link to bid is clovers4kids.hibid.com/auctions.
In Bernalillo County, the livestock auction is completely virtual, said Brittany Johnson, who works as a 4-H extension agent at New Mexico State University.
“We’re using a platform called Fair Entry and they built in a way that we could upload videos and pictures of all our animals, so they’re judged completely virtually, and then our auction will also be a completely virtual auction,” she said.
Johnson said that there will be no animals at the fairgrounds at all and the judging will be via the photos and videos the kids submit.
Christy Smith, a volunteer for the Bernalillo County Fair, said that there will be a small animal auction going on the same time as the livestock auction.
“We also have a small animal auction because we’re more of an in-town kind of group, being Bernalillo County,” she said. “So, we have more kids who do small animals which are rabbits, guinea pigs, and poultry.”
Smith said that her daughter is competing in an auction, but they’re a little bit worried for a low turnout.
“This is [my daughter’s] last year, she’s aging out, so it’s kind of been a bummer,” she said. “We were kind of watching the Sandoval County online virtual auction and it seemed like it didn’t get the money it would have if it was in person. So, we’re a little anxious about that.”
Smith said the reason could be that many people don’t know there is going to be an online livestock auction at all.
The auction will start Aug. 14 at noon. For more info on how to sign up, visit aces.nmsu.edu/county/bernalillo/4hyouth.