The Show Circuit
Champion Steer at San Antonio Brings $119,939
Grand Champion Steer auctioned at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo
Vincent T. Davis Feb. 23, 2019
San Antonio Express-News
As the strains of “The Final Countdown” boomed from speakers inside of the auction barn at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, the 2019 Grand Champion Market Steer poked its snout out of the staging area, ready to stomp onto the hay-strewn stage.
On Saturday morning, Claire Riley McCormick led Homer, a tan Charolais, before 300 cheering people at the junior steer market auction. The crowd, clad in Western wear and cowboy hats, filled the bleachers, rows of folding chairs and aisles. Auctioneer C. Jason Spence reeled off dollar amounts that prompted bidders to jab their hands in the air until W.M. “Rusty” Rush stood up from the front row.
Rush, CEO and president of Rush Enterprises, stood beside an empty chair reserved for his late father, Marvin Rush. He gave the winning bid of $119,939 for the company in honor of his dad, a major supporter of the stock show and rodeo scholarship program and rodeo hall of fame inductee.
After congratulations from Rush, McCormick led Homer out to the pen area, where her family celebrated her biggest win with the Canyon Future Farmers of America. Fortune has shined upon her before, in a different arena. Her father, Jay McCormick, said she has been fortunate to have grand champion pigs at Fort Worth, the Dallas State Fair and Denver.
McCormick, 18, said she is undecided where she will attend college, but wants to become a radiographer. At that moment she was still numb from the honor that came after a year of working countless hours after school, with help from her family, tending to Homer. As far as raising more steers, she said it was her last hurrah and she was happy to go out on top.
“I’m on cloud nine,” McCormick said. “I feel like I won the Super Bowl.”
A dozen buyers bid $85,000 for Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer, Mobamba, shown by 16-year-old Madellyne Saige Adams. The teenage member of the Brown County 4-H club agreed with McCormick. She said the achievement took every single day and an abundance of help from her family to raise the black-and-white Maine-Anjou.“It’s what I do for a living,” she said, as moos from the cattle echoed through the barn. “It’s a lot of hard work, and it takes a lot of dedication.”
This year’s bid beat the last year’s $110,000 winning bid cast by a group of 11 buyers for a Maine-Anjou, named Checkers. In 2018, the rodeo contributed $12 million to Texas collegiate, through scholarships, auctions, show premiums, calf scramble, endowments and grants.
Before leaving the barn, well wishers stopped by to congratulate McCormick, standing near her steer, both bound for separate paths.
“He’ll go to be harvested” Jay McComick said, “and go join part of the food chain.”
Neal Brodbeck, junior auction chairman, said all auction proceeds go to the young exhibitors. A $10,000 scholarship is awarded to top contestants of public speaking contests, breed competitions and other events.
He said hopefully the auction will raise $6 million to benefit 993 exhibitors and help with education for youth involved in agriculture. Brodbeck said the three-day auction, where 15 breeds of cattle are shown, wouldn’t be possible without their committee of 270 volunteers
Brodbeck credited San Antonio’s business community, and its residents, for their passion to support the young exhibitors.
“The buyers are top notch,” he said, “with opening their hearts and wallets for the kids.”
Vincent T. Davis is a reporter in the Greater San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @vincentdavis