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Life lessons at the lamb auction

  • Kassidy Bianchi, 9, shows her Special Junior Champion lamb, while her brother Kyle holds her ribbons and trophy, during the Junior Livestock Auction Market Lamb Sale at the Sonoma County Fair, in Santa Rosa, on Friday, Aug. 2, 2013. (CHRISTOPHER CHUNG/ PD)

The main thought that went through Austin Muelrath's mind as he walked his lamb “Larry” onto the stage was, “I don't want to smell the lambs, because they smell pretty bad.”

Even so, the 10-year-old was excited to be part of the Market Lamb Sale at the Sonoma County Fair for his second year.

“I like learning about the animals, and getting the paycheck,” Muelrath said. He estimated he would bring in $4,000 for the two lambs he raised and sold. He'll take $200 for spending money and save the rest for college.

Market Lamb Sale at the Sonoma County Fair


Dozens of children from around Sonoma County paraded the lambs that they raised for months onto a stage to be auctioned off Friday morning.

Some were emotional, like Maren Powers, 16 of Occidental, who gently stroked the neck of her lamb “Cue” as she waited to go on stage.

“I'm sad, but good,” Powers said. “I've worked with him a ton, and now it's time to say goodbye.”

Now in her eighth year showing at the auction, Maren spent six months taking care of Cue, running him around for exercise and helping him to stay fit.

“You set them on a tilt to get their butt muscles built,” Powers said.

As Maren rubbed Cue's ears and posed with him on stage, Cue sold for $10 a pound.

VIDEO: Junior Livestock Auction Market Lamb Sale

In all, 277 lambs were sold for an average of $9.19 a pound. The lamb auction brought in a total of $663,239.25, fair officials said.

One of the highest prices fetched for a lamb was the beast raised by Cole Pruett of Petaluma FFA, which was sold to Joe Fuller for $26 a pound, bringing in a total of $3,900. After taking a jostling from “Sparkles,” 9-year-old Kassidy Bianchi earned $17 a pound for her lamb.

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