As I stand on the picturesque green field of Redmond High School incoming senior Austin Evans’ family farm, the sheep by his side continues to “baaa.”
“Let me take the halter off, that would be better,” said Evans as he tended to his market sheep, Seymour.
Evans and Seymour are getting ready to compete.
“I think getting him ready consists of making sure that he’s standing still in the ring, making sure he stands and looks the part, grooming, feeding,” Evans said.
Evans hopes to show and sell Seymour as a part of the Youth Livestock Auction at the Deschutes County Fair.
It’s a tradition carried by generations of FFA students and hard work.
“Probably you spend one to two hours a day with your animal more depending on how well you want to do and how successful you want to be at fair,” said Redmond High Junior Grace Stott.
“What we do never stops,” said Redmond High junior Alexis Rivera “It’s year round so we start pretty much whenever and it just continues on.”
The auction, along with a barbeque and showcase put on by Deschutes County FFA groups, are focused on not only selling livestock; but displaying student projects aimed at elevating the agriculture business.
Stott is showing her years-long work on cattle breeding.
“Obviously I have to get good grades at school, I’m a two sport athlete, and I also have to take care of my animals,” Stott said “So I have to manage my time in order to achieve all of my goals in each area.”
“And just the education that they learn gives a tremendous opportunity and sets the stage for what they’re going to need to know throughout the rest of their lives,” said Geoff Hinds, the Director of the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.
“Continue doing what we love and continue to further the agriculture industry,” Evans said.
And further the connections students make.
“I’ve met several different people that have helped me through my journey of selling lambs but have also been there for me,” Evans said.
So when August comes around, there’s no if’s, and’s or “baaa’s” about the excitement Central Oregon FFA members have for the Deschutes County Fair.
“We’re extremely grateful for our community that comes out and supports us,” Evans said.