Buyers open wallets to support of top 4-H, FFA projects

Buyers raised their paddles as a week’s worth of grand and reserve champion livestock were led through the auction ring on the final day of the 27th annual Ellis County Youth Expo.

Agriculture students received more than $14,000 in scholarships before the auction even began Saturday. At the five-day event, located at the Ellis County Expo Center, youth exhibitors representing several FFA, 4-H and FCCLA clubs across the county showed off their projects and livestock prepared for competition.

The bids for the grand champion steer, shown by Anna Arnold of the Ennis 4-H, rose quickly to $7,000 and stalled briefly before reaching double digits. Waxahachie AutoPlex purchased the steer for an even $10,000. The AutoPlex also purchased the grand champion swine showed by Alex Jones of the Italy FFA for $8,000.

The next highest sale was Midlothian High School senior Morgan Key’s reserve champion market goat. As bidding rose past $6,000, Key wiped her eyes. R.E. Watson purchased the animal for $9,750. Key has been in the sale ring in every major show in Texas, but told the auctioneer nothing compares to the Ellis County Youth Expo.

Another senior showing at her home show for the final time, Ariel Burden’s reserve champion market swine fetched a $4,250 price from Ennis State Bank. Burden showed her first hog at 2 years old and plans to attend TCU, the auctioneer told the audience. She has earned five championships and three reserve championships at the Ellis County Expo.

Midlothian Heritage High School student Katelyn Caldwell sold the first grand champion market lamb in the schools history for $5,000 to R.E. Watson.

The Herdsman award for the individual and chapter cattle competitors who maintained the most attractive exhibit and showed a cooperative spirit towards show officials. Monty Eskew from the Waxahachie 4-H received the individual award and and the Palmer FFA received the team award.

Before the auction began, agriculture students received more than $14,000 in scholarships. Six $1,000 Ellis County Youth Expo scholarships for graduating seniors were awarded to Key, Burden, Haley Acker and Abigail Rodgers from the Waxahachie FFA, Laney Lord from the Red Oak FFA, and Madison Connell from the Ferris FFA.

Perseverance Awards, sponsored by Dr. Henderson King, were given to four students. Students had to submit an essay about an event they had participated in or action they had taken to be considered for the awards. Brooke Kelly, with the Midlothian 4-H received at $2,000 scholarship; Samantha Garcia; with the Waxahachie 4-H, received a $1,000 scholarship; and Cody Dowell and Wyatt Pustejovsky, of the Midlothian 4-H each received $500 scholarships.


Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email Follow her on Facebook at or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.