As sheep bleated and children shuffled around eager to sell off their livestock, attendees of Friday’s livestock auction at the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair took a moment of silence for the late Nevin Tasto, the long-time auctioneer of the livestock sale who passed away earlier this year.
Then, for the first time in more than 25 years, a new voice kicked off the auction, that of 13-year-old Grady McGrew.
“Tonight, we are starting a new chapter,” said Ramona Rawlings, coordinator for the livestock sale.
Tasto began auctioneering when he was 16 and Rawlings, who was related to Tasto by marriage, said it only felt right to bring in a young auctioneer to honor him.
“This is what he loved, mentoring young people,” Rawlings said.
Grady, a 4-H member and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, native, has auctioneering in his veins. His father, Greg McGrew, works in auctions and got Grady involved in virtual and in-person auctions.
“It’s cool to be doing this,” Grady said. “But there’s a lot of people.”
Greg McGrew said watching his son take the lectern at the fair’s auction came down to one feeling: pride.
“When your kid does something you’re passionate about, it’s awesome,” Greg McGrew said.
And while the auction began with a change of tradition, much remained the same. Young 4-H members gave their livestock one final wash, scrubbing them extra clean in hopes of a higher selling price, and giving them one last pat or hug before the livestock they spent years raising were sold away.
There were more than 300 lots for sale at Friday’s auction.
For William Rhoderick, 10, the selling of his black angus steer Chief was a bittersweet moment.
Chief, named because he was born the day after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, was the first calf born on the Rhoderick’s family’s farm when they moved to Westminster a year and a half ago.
“It’s a mixture between happy and sad to see him go, for him to be gone forever after bonding,” William said.
Emma Arbaugh, a 13-year-old from Westminster, said that while she is proud of the work she put in to raise and sell her sheep Jumper and steer Hillbilly, so named because he hails from West Virginia. She also feels bonded to the animals.
“She looks at them like they’re her friends,” said Elly Arbaugh, Emma’s mom, who noted her daughter’s affinity for dressing her animals up in hats.
Kaya Kriner, 14, said the sale of her beloved livestock is a difficult moment, but one she’s willing to repeat year after year.
This year marked the Finksburg resident’s fourth livestock sale. Kriner sold off her sheep Mr. Pickles Friday night.
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“It’s a fun process and it’s a lot of work,” Kriner said of raising her sheep.