After several months of love and care, students from Galveston County said goodbye to their animals at the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo auction on Wednesday evening.
Goats, lambs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, pigs and steers were auctioned and sold to buyers from around the area. The Grand Champion steer, Apollo, was sold for $25,000.
“I couldn’t believe I won Grand Champion,” Italeigh Kelley said. “I put a lot of work into it, but I was still shocked.”
Kelley is a sophomore at Texas City High School and this was her second time raising a steer.
“It’s going to be hard letting him go,” Kelley said. “But it’s so worth it every time.”
Kelley said she plans to use the money she earned for a new animal as well as putting some into savings.
Students from Galveston County have dedicated months to teaching livestock how to walk, developing their muscles, keeping them clean and fed and loving them.
Although students spend countless hours taking care of their animals, many are OK with seeing them go.
“I love my sheep, but after doing this for so long you learn to keep going,” Santa Fe student Canton Kempf said.
Colton Smith usually raises turkeys, which seem different than caring for larger animals.
“You tend to have a stronger bond with the bigger animals because of their personalities,” Smith said. “They are like your friends.”
For students continuing their journey through 4-H and Future Farmers of America, selling their livestock is just the beginning of a new chapter.
“One of the hardest parts is standing up there during the auction,” Olivia Dykes said. “I get so nervous but I just hope for a fair amount so I can put it toward a new animal.”