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Texan

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Top steer goes for record $230,000 at Fort Worth Stock Show

By Punch Shaw

Special to the Star-Telegram

FORT WORTH -- How does $173.19 per pound sound?

That's what the grand champion steer was worth at Saturday's annual Sale of Champions, which helped close out a record-setting run at this year's Fort Worth Stock Show.

Spider Monkey, shown by 18-year-old Cuatro Schauer of Beeville, was purchased for $230,000 -- the highest price paid for the top steer in the event's 116-year history.

The buyer was Dick Wallrath of Centerville, a businessman, rancher and philanthropist who has become something of a legend in agricultural circles by purchasing stock in other shows and funding numerous scholarships. His donations to young people in agriculture over the past decade run into the millions, including $1.5 million to Texas FFA, making him the largest donor in that organization's 83-year history.

This year's Stock Show also set a record for total attendance, sailing past the 1 million visitor mark for the first time Thursday. The show ended Saturday, and final attendance figures for this year's show will be announced today.

The high-stakes final bidding for Spider Monkey, a 1,328-pound European crossbred, was between Wallrath and his Champion Ranch, and Ross Perot Jr. and his Hillwood Land & Cattle.

Things became especially intense after the bidding eclipsed the previous sale record of $210,000 set in 2010, setting off a wave of noisy excitement in the jampacked West Arena. "We wanted Dick to get the price up a bit," Perot said, good naturedly.

While Wallrath prevailed with the champion, Perot was successful in purchasing the reserve grand champion steer, a European crossbred shown by 11-year-old Stock Martin of Vega, for $155,000.

"We come every year. I have been doing this since 1976 with my dad," Perot said as the sold steers were posed for pictures in the area behind the sale ring. "We try to keep the prices high for the kids and, every once in a while, you win one."

By the end of the sale, buyers had spent $2,913,760 on 288 animals -- another record -- outpacing last year's total of $2,895,539.

Special guest

Wallrath was participating in the sale for the first time as a "special guest" of the Stock Show Syndicate, the group of businesses, charitable foundations, agricultural organizations and individual donors who purchase the prize-winning stock in the junior steer, barrow, lamb and goat competitions. Wallrath has purchased champion stock in other shows around Texas and, through his Richard Wallrath Educational Foundation, he funds numerous scholarships.

This year, the foundation will award more than 100 $10,000 scholarships to young Texans involved in 4-H and FFA, Wallrath said.

Wallrath has become so well-known for his generosity that a feature film has been made about his life. Deep in the Heart, starring John Gries and Val Kilmer, will have its premiere in Austin on Feb. 15, before opening in theaters across Texas on Feb. 17, said the movie's executive producer, Jay Hoffman, who was also on hand for Saturday's sale.

Big win

The smiles on the faces of the exhibitors participating in the Junior Sale of Champions were almost as big as their paychecks.

"This is probably the toughest one there is," Schauer, a senior at A.C. Jones High School in the South Texas town of Beeville, said about the Stock Show.

"I've always wanted to win this one."

But for Schauer, who has amassed a dazzling list of victories showing steers, lambs and goats at shows both great and small, any enjoyment of his record-setting payday will have to wait.

"We can't celebrate today. My county sale is today," said Schauer, referring to the Bee County Fair, where he blew away the competition by showing the top two steers in the show, as well as the grand champion lamb and goat, earlier in the week.

So there are no short-term plans for his record-setting payoff but, in the long term, Schauer hopes to spend at least part of the money on an animal science education at Texas A&M University, he said.

Martin, on the other hand, has a more direct plan for his big check.

"I'm going to build my cow herd, and I'm thankful for the bucks," said Martin, who enjoys playing football and basketball when he is not showing cattle.

Joining Martin in the sale was his 8-year-old sister, Saige, who sold her American crossbred, which finished fifth in its class, for $9,375 to Excel Title Group.

Other animals

In addition to the steers, the other livestock at the Sale of Champions also fetched handsome prices.

Daniel Hinojosa, 16, of Mission raised Muscles, the grand champion goat, which sold to Dr. Bill Bonnell for $30,000. Hinojosa plans to use the money to study engineering at Texas A&M and said he will celebrate today with a Super Bowl party.

"This is the best feeling ever," said Hinojosa, who began showing animals four years ago. "This is my first time to ever win a major show."

Beastin, the Grand Champion barrow, was purchased by the Happy Davis Foundation for $20,000.

Danielle Felux, 17, who raised the animal with her 12-year-old brother, Zachary, said the 276-pound pig was calm and sweet-natured.

"This is all I've ever wanted," Felux said, adding that she hopes to use the money to study occupational therapy at Texas A&M.

Ladies of the Lamb, a Fort Worth nonprofit group that raises money to purchase lambs, bought the reserve grand champion lamb, shown by Erica Walker, for $20,000. The group started buying lambs a decade ago after noticing the animals sold for much less than steers, pigs and goats.

"We want to help the kids raise as much as possible for their education or to continue raising animals," said Heidi Schutts, the organization's president.

Staff writer Sarah Bahari contributed to this report.



http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/02/04/3712229/top-steer-goes-for-record-230000.html?video=true
 

HAY MAKER

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A worthy cause for some really good youngsters, I dont think the San Antonio stock show does that good.
good luck
 

gcreekrch

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Mr Wallrath sounds like a good businessman who would rather help out young Ag folks than pay taxes to the govt. for them to waste. :wink:

Good on him and those like him.
 

Trinity man

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Being from Centerville and have met Wallrath several times. He is a good business man make his money in glass and mirror business in Las Vegas. I have heard he is a little hard to work for if your skin color don't match his. :roll: He came into our area about 30 years ago and its be fun watching him and another wellthy rancher with money other than ranching keeping up with each other. One of them builded million dollar horse center now the other is building mult-million dollar equine center with full-time vet and staff on hand. Its starting to get better and better every year with some of us small guy making bet on what they do next. :lol:
 

Silver

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$173 per pound does seem a little high, but you gotta keep in mind we ARE talking exotics here........ :wink:
 

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