Junior Fair Expectations for Livestock Sale

Understand the sale

Exhibitors: Please understand that even though you are walking your animal through the sale ring and “bids” are taken, this sale is not a livestock auction in the true meaning of the words. Very few bidders actually buy the animal (take the meat). In the ring, bidders are actually saying “this is the amount that we are contributing to this child for the great work they have done with their project”.  Animals are sold to the livestock dealers (packers); they are the actual “buyers”.

Remember that any premium you receive, above the market value of that animal, is a gift from the sale bidders to you as an exhibitor.   

Pre-sale Information

Exhibitors are encouraged to invite potential bidders to the sale, but not to directly ask them to bid on your project. These invitations should be sent 2-3 weeks prior to the fair. Invitations can be in the form of a letter, card, or phone call. Include the following information:

  • Information about you, your parents, your club or chapter, and your project
  • Ask them to “support the sale” (not buy your animal)
  • Date, time, and location of the sale (September 8th, 8am)
  • Photo of you with your animal(s)
  • Proper spelling & grammar are important.  Make sure all words are spelled correctly and hand written notes are easy to read.  

Only contact potential bidders whom you have a personal connection with, such as:

  • Feed store/other business your family patronizes
  • Family members/friends of the family
  • Buyers who have purchased your animal in the past (be sure to thank them again in your invitation)

During the Fair

Exhibitors that have sold animals at the previous fair are expected have some type of display/poster/banner thanking last year’s bidders. This thank you doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy – just a sincere sign of appreciation. Bidders often walk through the barns and appreciate seeing their names recognized.    

Pro-Tip: Animals should be presented to the best of the exhibitors ability, donors walking through the barns appreciate the work that you do in keeping your animals, pens and aisles clean. Be sure to give a little extra attention to your area on sale days.    

Sale Day


Youth and family members should NOT be in the show arena during the sale unless they are in the ring selling or thanking a bidder AFTER their animal has been sold.  The only people who should be in the show arena are those bidding on animals.

Multiple bidder sheets are to be used at the sale by sale donors ONLY, they are not to be in the possession of members or parents. These sheets were designed to help bidders come together and organize their donations for a single child. They are not to be used by families to collect bids.

Take time to find bidders(s) and express appreciation after the animal is sold.  Exhibitors are encouraged to shake their buyers’ hand and tell them “thank you” directly, as well as reminded to thank back bidders, who drove up the price of your animal.  The sale will still be going on during this time. Exhibitors should be mindful to show respect to the bidder’s time, as they may still be bidding on other animals.    

Bidders have expressed discomfort and frustration about being approached by families to bid or add on bids at the sale. Several bidders have expressed that they do not intend to return to the fair sale because of the “greed” and “lack of appreciation” they feel is being exhibited by some families. Again, any premium you receive, above the market value of that animal, is a gift from the sale donors to you as an exhibitor. No one is under any obligation to bid or give you more.

Post Sale

Exhibitors are expected write thank you cards to your sale bidders and those who provided add-on bids. Thank you notes should be sent within a week from fair move out day. Thank you cards should include:

  • Express appreciation for their support in buying your animal
  • Something you learned or a skill you gained from the project
  • Your name and club
  • Photo of you from fair if possible

Pro-Tip: Deliver thank you notes in person.  Dress nicely when you deliver thank you notes, and be sure to express your appreciation verbally as well. Exhibitors may also consider buying an ad in the local newspaper thanking your buyers after the fair.

Click to download the letter to exhibitors from the Hardin County OSU Extension Office.

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