Animal auction and honors for board members ends Mid-Winter fair on high note

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John Cummings stands with his Supreme Champion steer at 1,343 pounds. The Brawley FFA showman listened as bidding commenced on his beef project to end the fair at the top of his game.

IMPERIAL — The California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta successfully ended another ten-day run culminating in the weekend auction of both small and large animals. Months of work, for the youth, the parents, the clubs, and the fair ended with the pounding of the gavel as the auctioneer shouted, “Sold!” to a background of yelling and clapping as each animal went through auction.

Between selling the last swine, but before the beef auction began, members of the fair board took a moment to honor volunteers whose hard work and dedication make the fair successful.

“I would like to give this year’s Blue Ribbon Award to Alford Distributing, for all the work and support they give us,” announced Board President Joe Montenegro after he had called the auctioneers, ring men, and board to the center of the arena.

A surprised Cherisse Alford, who stood next to Montenegro as a fair board member, looked around and realized her family had joined her in the arena.

“She (Cherisse) knew nothing about this as you can see,” said Montenegro.

The board also honored board member Bo Shropshire with a bench inscribed with his name  to be displayed on the fairgrounds.

“There is nobody who works harder than Bo to make sure the kids get a good price at the auction, that the auction runs smoothly and all should be done right,” Montenegro said as the bench was brought out.

Shropshire also was moved and surprised by the bench dedication. A fellow board member said he could tell Shropshire was touched as that was the first time he had ever seen him speechless.

The board moved to a more solemn moment as they directed the crowd’s attention to all the pink shirts the auctioneers wore, as did the auction ring men and the board members.

“We want to show our support to the women who have battled breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter. If you have survived cancer, please come to the center of the ring with us,” Montenegro asked the crowd.

Breast cancer survivors Trina Hutchinson and Kari Foster Smelser joined the group’s center ring and hugged each other, knowing the full extent both had battled back from the dreaded disease. The room stood and applauded.

After the dedications, the auctioneers started the well-known “cattle rattle” as head auctioneers Paul Cooper and Seth Seever helped sell John Cummings’ Supreme Champion steer at 1,343 pounds. The Brawley FFA showcased his black angus steer bedecked with ribbons and the coveted championship blanket to a generous crowd that let him take home the bacon, so to speak.