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The annual banquet, held at Ponderosa Ranch, raised approximately $19,000 towards projects that impact local ranchers

PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY CROOK COUNTY STOCK GROWER'S ASSOCIATION
 - Participants of the Stock Growers Banquet enjoy dinner, prepared by John Giorgi, prior to the live auction by auctioneer Aaron Tanler.

The Annual Banquet and Auction at Ponderosa Ranch, sponsored by the Crook County Stock Growers Association (CCSGA), was an enormous success.

The event, this year held on Oct. 16, has been ongoing for 20 years. The evening included a social hour and silent auction, followed by dinner and a live auction.

"We had a really good turnout. We had 125 chairs sitting out, and they were all full and there were some people standing up," exclaimed Brittney Wofford, secretary for CCSGA.

Most importantly, the money raised will go towards a number of important programs. The auction raised approximately $19,000. The funds from the event, including the auction, go towards programs such as the Ranchers Feeding Kids Program, College Scholarships, and further education of the beef industry, as well as policies supported by the National Cattleman's Association.

Policies supported by the National Cattleman's Association include an assortment of topics on the table that are currently facing cattle owners in Oregon.

"We also use that money to draft letter to Congress, and attorney fees," said Wofford. She went on to say, "If you, as a member, have a concern or matter needing assistance, we encourage you to get involved and let us help initiate policy to support and protect our livelihood."

Admission for the dinner also paid the annual dues for the Crook County Stock Growers Association.

The meal was prepared by John Giorgi and was provided by Central Oregon Ranch Supply and Bobbi Aldrich. Rolling Spirits was available before dinner for refreshments, with the silent auction taking place during happy hour-and up until dinner. The live auction, led by auctioneer, Aaron Tanler, began after dinner was served and participants were seated.

"It was perfect weather, you could not have asked for better, because by the time it was over, the wind started picking up and everyone was leaving—so it was perfect."

The Ranchers Feeding Kids Program is made possible by local ranchers who donate beef to CCSGA, which are then butchered at Butcher Boys in Prineville. The meat goes directly to schools in Crook County. There are approximately six beefs donated each year by local ranchers.

The 2021 Carcass of Merit Award winners were also announced during the evening. 4-H youth and FFA youth who raise beef and subsequently have the animal dressed and prepared at local processing plants also receive a grade for the carcass. The results go into a spread sheet on cuts of meat, with prime, choice, and select.

"There are several different things that go into the carcass grading," Wofford stated.

The first three youth who have the best scores of "prime" receive Carcass of Merit Awards from CCSGA. It includes a $500 scholarship and jacket, and the first-place youth presents their project and what they learned at the banquet. The first-place youth was Easton Perrin, second place was Callie Winebarger, and third place was Taylor Echeverra.

Perrin has been in 4-H since fourth grade.

"For the Carcass of Merit, they take the market value of the carcass itself of the steer," explained Perrin.

He was surprised by the award, and gave a presentation during the awards ceremony.

The stock grower of the year includes a local rancher, was revealed during the banquet. It is awarded to someone who has gone above and beyond as a cattle owner and supports the community and is a wealth of knowledge. The award recognizes outstanding stockmen here in Crook County, and the stock growers of the year for 2021 was awarded to Phil and Brenda Hartzell from Post. They run Oregon Ranching in Post. Katie Starr did a speech to talk about their lives in agriculture and how they have been involved and helped others as well as themselves succeed. 

"All in all, we had a really great turnout and raised around $19,000 for the stock growers to put towards causes that may affect our local ranchers and farmers. This money also goes towards our scholarships, towards bumping and buying animals at the Crook County Fair and then towards topics that might again, affect our local community. It also goes towards the butcher fees for the Ranchers Feeding Kids program," concluded Wofford. 

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For more information about the Crook County Stock Growers Association, call Secretary Brittney Wofford at 541-977-7641 or Holli Kingsbury at 541-410-2394


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