BILLINGS - The region's best young livestock enthusiasts had Saturday circled on their calendar for months.
After all, the Patrick Goggins Junior Livestock Sale can make them a pretty penny.
"Showing livestock typically is something that a lot of families do for a lot of generations. And it's really something, especially as our family, it's like our thing to do together. And you come to the fair and you have your family, but then you also have your other, fair family," exhibitor Brighton Lane said.
People were actually able to watch and bid from home this year, courtesy of a live-stream from Northern Livestock Video. The event raises around half a million dollars.
The 2020 Junior Livestock Show at Montana Fair was fought for, every step of the way.
To accommodate social distancing guidelines, the sale was moved for the first time into the First Interstate Arena.
"It seemed like every single day, that you'd open your phone see that, Oh this place canceled their state fair, this place canceled their county fair. And then I think that this fear became really deep rooted in every single exhibitor, when the Montana State Fair canceled," Lane said. "However, the Montana State Fair didn't have Roni Baker in their corner-helping to get their fair going,".
Baker was both an FFA and a 4H kid growing up, and vividly recalls the feeling of accomplishment. She has since dedicated her time toward sharing that with future generations.
"It's about the kids, that's the easy answer. It really is about the 4H and FFA Kids that are here, and all the hard work they do," Roni Baker said. "You know today at the sale they're showing off the product. But it's really about the education that happens before that,".
Many in attendance stressed the importance of continuing agriculture and livestock education and involvement to meet workforce demands.
"We are looking for those who have that responsibility. That have some work ethic, that have some common sense. And that will do something, that they don't want to do. And I think these kids right here folks, are those kind of people," auctioneer Joe Goggins said.
The sale came to be as a result of the collaboration.
"It is absolutely important. You know, we wouldn't eat. We wouldn't have homes to live in. All of these things we take for granted every day. You know people say, "Really? Anti-freeze has cow bi-products in it?" Other than the meat products..all the other products, the bi-products. It's amazing what we use every day, what they provide for us. Insulin. You know, tires," Baker said.
Project Meats was also on hand to assist with any future processing.
"Today is the day of an investment, it's a day to invest in the future of America," Goggins said.
Many expressed their gratitude for Baker, and others determination to make the event a reality.
"Roni we are forever thankful for your hard work, dedication, leadership and for being one of the best role-models we could have asked for," Lane said.
Often, buyers will donate livestock they purchase back to the child and the family, furthering future learning opportunities.
"Just tears me up. It's about the kids. It's what it means to them, and what they learn and gain through the programs," Baker said.
Visit https://yellowstone.msuextension.org/4h/index.html for more information about the programs.