By: Tom Fink | Category: Rogers County | Issue: September 2019
Rogers County Fair Premium Sale is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 16, in Claremore.
For more than 100 years, the Rogers County Fair has drawn livestock exhibitors from across the county to compete, with those earning top honors getting the opportunity to qualify for the Rogers County Junior Premium Sale.
Working in conjunction with the Rogers County Fair Board, the Rogers County Premium Auction Committee (RCPAC) organizes the premium sale honoring the hard work of the top livestock exhibitors.
The premium auction supports several students within Rogers County’s 4-H and FFA programs. These funds aid in their future agriculture project endeavors, as well as their education goals.
“Premium sale participants, the ‘top cut’ of all of the livestock species shown – this includes beef, swine, sheep, goats and dairy,” said Susan Gebhart, committee member. “Of the species, the top 81 make the sale, so when you have a premium sale, the option is for it to be what’s called a terminal sale – this means that the animal actually changes hands, versus one where it’s just a ‘premium sale’, and that means, the students get a monetary award, and the animals do not change ownership, but the money does go to the students.
Rogers County Premium Auction Committee members include Cas Salley (from left), Meggie Froman-Knight and Susan Gebhart. Committee members not pictured are Arnold Hamilton, Jerri Guilfoyle, Kevin Froman and Tim Cutsinger.
“This allows them the option to re-invest in their next livestock project, or put it in their college fund, which is what a lot of these kids do,” she said.
Kids, for example, like Meggie Froman-Knight.
“When I was a student, I was in both FFA and 4-H, and the experience of showing cattle taught me skills that have benefited me throughout my life,” Froman-Knight said. “After I was out of high school, I used what I’d won at the premium sale to help pay for my undergraduate degree, but the sale and all the work leading up to the sale itself taught me life skills that have benefited me.”
Last year, more than $211,000 was raised at the premium sale – roughly $2,600 per student.
“This community has historically been very generous and very supportive of the youth, and the success of the premium sale is certainly evidence of that,” Gebhart said. “What the premium sale committee does, being a non-profit organization, is to handle the sale itself as well as the logistics, the overhead expenses that occur from year to year, reporting, photographs, the dinner that precedes the sale as well as the sale itself – a lot of that happens either through volunteer efforts, donations, or things which are supplied to us at a reduced price. Even so, there is overhead which occurs, so when those kids get their bid, a small percentage is taken out for the overhead, but the rest of it goes directly to the students.”
“You learn so much through the competition and the sale – you learn project management, finances and time management, several life skills,” Froman-Knight said. “The students aren’t just investing in their project, they’re investing in themselves, teaching themselves habits that will carry them into the future in their careers, relationships, lives. We see these students are typically the shining stars, and ultimately, this (event) isn’t just about the sale, it’s about changing student’s habits, character and lives.”
“This sale is a fundraiser that’s clearly excellence-driven – this is totally based on the kid’s performance and their work ethic,” she said. “Those who are involved in agriculture in this county have a real vested interest in making sure that those kinds of young people make it into the agriculture industry as adults, but even if they don’t choose a career path in ag, there are still many who have a life that’s impacted directly by agriculture. They might be a banker by day, but still run cattle in the evenings and on the weekends.
“Also, I believe that even people who aren’t involved in agriculture still recognize the value in raising kids who have a strong work ethic and character, kids who are in the barn or field and staying out of trouble,” she said. “Lessons that the students learn competing at the fair and the premium sale are lessons that they’ll take with them throughout their life, no matter what they do.”
The Rogers County Youth Livestock Premium Sale is slated for Monday, Sept. 16, at the Claremore Expo, following the Rogers County Fair at the Claremore Expo Center.
For more information about the Rogers County Premium Sale and how you can support it, visit the Rogers County Fair website at https://rogerscountyfair.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/2429628004029085/.
Students earning top honors at the fair further compete at the premium sale for the chance to earn funding toward future projects or college.
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