The Standard Journal
Cattle sale highlights bonds
Local farmers and supporters attend the annual event that benefits the Polk County Show Team.
Last Friday evening served as a symbol of just how much the Polk County Show Team and the local cattle industry supports each other, as well as the bond between team members and the animals they have groomed and shown for the last seven months.
The Rockmart High School Agricultural Center teemed with activity as people attended the show team’s annual cattle sale, where the heifers and steers shown by Cedartown and Rockmart middle schoolers and high schoolers this past season are auctioned off to cattle farmers with 100% of the proceeds going back to the program.
It’s a bittersweet moment for many of the students as their time with their animals put in their care comes to a close, but many have been through the process before and know it’s part of how the cattle industry works.
“It’s always kind of sad to know you are at the end of the year, but I’m excited to see how much she’s grown since the beginning of the season,” Cedartown Middle School student Emily Lewis said, referring to her heifer, Shadow.
Lewis won her first showman championship this past season and her first belt buckle with Shadow.
“She’s grown tremendously this past season and she’s been a really good cow. And I had some great teammates this year”
More than a dozen local cattle producers donate the heifers and steers the students show during the season, with ag teachers going out in July to select animals between five to 10 months old to bring back to the livestock barn area at the ag center.
Students in the program then are paired up with an animal and begin to prepare it for cattle shows across the state leading up to the
Georgia National Fair shows in Perry each October.
This past season saw Rockmart High School sophomore Kensley Oliver show Bacardi, a red and white purebred Hereford heifer. Oliver worked with Bacardi since July grooming her and feeding her every day after school while also practicing taking her around the arena for shows.
“You spend so much time with both the cow and your teammates. We’re really a big family,” Oliver said. “It is heartbreaking. It’s like someone giving you a puppy and a year later taking it away.”
There is some good news for the students on the show team as many of the local farmers who purchase cattle at the event often allow the students to visit them whenever they would like.
Bacardi gave Oliver some special memories. The heifer never finished less than second in breeding class and helped earn its supplier, Rock Bottom Farms, the show team’s 2022 Breeder of the Year award.
This year’s sale included 18 heifers, five steers, processed quarters of beef, and desserts. A silent auction was also held. Members of the Polk County Future Farmers of America help with the sale, as do the county’s agriculture teachers.