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National Western Stock Show wraps up with record-breaking junior livestock sale

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

After two whirlwind weeks of nonstop livestock shows, youth exhibitors at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver ended on a high note during the sold-out, record-breaking NWSS Auction of Junior Livestock Champions held on the evening of Jan. 20. 

Prior to the event, Auctioneer John Korrey of Sterling, Colo. told 9News, “Thousands of head of livestock come through the stock show, and we are only selling 95 head tonight. There are a lot of exhibitors who don’t make the sale, but the ones who do are really the cream of the crop. They have worked hard on their projects year-round, so this is a really big deal for them.”

Kevin Ochsner, president of Agcellerate and host of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen series on RFD-TV, explained the majority of winning bids are given directly to the exhibitor, while 10 percent of each bid is donated to support the National Western Scholarship Trust. 

Home-state support for Colorado-raised exhibitors and buyer generosity was evident throughout the night, with bids shattering records made in previous years. Total bids came in at an all-time record of $1,027,750. The top eight animals in the sale brought $585,000, which broke the previous record of $531,000 in 2020. 

Champion steers

LaSalle, Colo. native Justin Pfannebecker, 18, broke a record of his own when Ames Construction purchased his NWSS Grand Champion Steer, Stan the Man, for $200,000. The previous record was set in 2022 by Rhylee Rodgers, who received $160,000 for her Grand Champion Steer.

“This is my last time at the NWSS, and it is bittersweet,” Pfannebecker told 9News during the sale. “I am so blessed to be able to come out here with my family and have them support me so much. I am so happy I was able to be a part of all of this, and I would like to thank Ames Construction for buying my steer.” 

Mason Grady of Grandview, Texas exhibited the Reserve Champion Steer, which sold to Transwest Trucks Inc. for $100,000. The 12-year-old noted he will be putting the money in his college fund.

Buffalo’s Rowan Wasinger sold the Grand Champion Catch-A-Calf for $50,000, and Lane Sinclair of Fort Collins, Colo. sold the Reserve Champion Catch-A-Calf for $47,500. 

Winning hogs 

The Grand Champion Hog, shown by Selah Salmons, sold for $60,000 to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. Salmons, a 13-year-old from Weatherford, Texas, shared her favorite memory of this year’s NWSS experience was walking the green carpet. 

Another Colorado-raised exhibitor, 16-year-old Karsyn Fetzer of Kersey, Colo., sold the Reserve Champion Hog to OXY for a record-breaking $75,000.

“This has been such an amazing experience and a lot of work, for sure,” said Fetzer. “I will be using the money to buy more animals and save up for college.”

Sheep and goats 

The Grand Champion Lamb, shown by Hayden Schroeder of Zephyr, Texas, sold for $50,000 to APC Resources. 

“I am extremely blessed, and I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting me,” Schroeder stated. “I have had my lamb, Impact, since February, so this is really bittersweet.” 

The Reserve Champion Lamb was exhibited by Bailee Amstutz, an 18-year-old from Richwood, Ohio and sold to TKM Foundation for a new record of $45,000. 

“This is pretty cool. It is my last year at the NWSS, and there is no better way to go out,” Amstutz told 9News. “TKM, thank you so much for topping off my last year and making it the best one yet. I will be using the money to go to college – I committed to Butler University to judge, so I will be attending there next fall.”

Dakota Martin of Mason, Texas sold the Grand Champion Goat for $30,000, and Schroeder exhibited the Reserve Champion Goat, which sold for $25,000.  

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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