Modified Junior Livestock Show and Virtual Auction to be Held at Fairgrounds

Sisters Marin and Addison Tomlinson wait to enter the ring with their steers at the 2019 Santa Cruz County Junior Livestock Auction. This year’s auction will be held virtually. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

Santa Cruz County 4-H and FFA youth who have been working on animal projects will be participating in a very different livestock show and junior auction this year. Traditionally, the show and sale is held during the Santa Cruz County fair, but because of the pandemic, the cancellation of the Fair by the County Board of Supervisors, the decision by the AZ Cooperative Extension Service not to allow 4-H to sanction a livestock show, and constraints on the number of people permitted to gather together, the Santa Cruz Junior Livestock (SCJL) Committee has worked to devise a two-day show at the Sonoita Fairgrounds followed by a virtual auction to allow the youth to sell their animal projects.

The first day of the show, to be held September 14, will have youth showing beef, market goats, and sheep. Showmanship classes will also be held on that day for those animals. Swine and swine showmanship classes will take place on September 15. There will be no classes for poultry or small stock this year. Livestock Committee Chairman Dean Fish anticipates that there will be 55 animals at the show and sale.

Photos of each animal will be taken on the day of the show which will be used during the virtual auction, which will begin on Friday, Sept 18 at 8a.m. and will start to close on Sunday, Sept 20 at 12:00p.m. Photos of the animals, along with a brief bio for each youth, will be available for viewing starting on Thursday, September 17.

Bidders can register at any time up until the close of bidding. The Fair page on the Fairgrounds website,, will have a link to the sale site. Click on the link for new bidder registration. All terms and conditions are on the website, according to Fish. Everyone is encouraged to bid on these animals to help support these local kids who have worked hard over the last several months to get their animals ready for showing and sale. The money that they earn at the auction helps them recoup their expenses, fund the purchase of next year’s animal project, and save for higher education. 

Fish explained that SCJL would transport the animal for processing for the buyer, or the buyer can sell the animal to the processor. The buyer can also donate the animal to the SCJL Scholarship Fund. SCJL operates under the Champions for Youth Foundation, a 501(c)3 foundation serving youth in Southeastern Arizona. Therefore, the portion of the purchase price that exceeds fair market value is tax deductible. 

“We reached out to our top buyers,” Fish said. “The majority of our supporters said they would support a virtual sale because in the end, it’s about supporting these kids.” For community members who have not supported the kids with their livestock projects in the past, now may be the perfect time to get involved. Santa Cruz County kids provide locally and humanely raised market ready lambs, goats, hogs and beef. Many areas of the country have seen meat supply shortages during the pandemic and going to the grocery store to stock up on routinely needed provisions can be taxing to say the least. 

For more information on the online auction, visit questions, contact Dean Fish, Livestock Committee Chair, Champions for Youth Foundation at or 520-988-8009.