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NWSS sale ranks second highest in history

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

After two whirlwind, action-packed weeks in Denver, youth exhibitors wrapped up the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) on a high note during the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions, held on the evening of Jan. 19. 

Kevin Ochsner, president of Agcellerate and host of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s “Cattlemen to Cattlemen” series on RFD-TV; 9News Anchor Corey Rose and Auctioneer John Korrey welcomed attendees to the sale. 

“We are here tonight for the pinnacle of the NWSS – the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions – where only the best of the best will be auctioned off,” said Rose. 

Ochsner explained of the thousands of head of livestock competing at NWSS, only 98 qualify for the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions, and while the majority of winning bids are given directly to the exhibitor, 10 percent of each bid is donated to support the National Western Scholarship Trust, which has raised over $6.8 million in scholarship money since its inception in 1983.

This year, total bids across the 98 animals sold amounted to $1,374,000, $548,000 of which came from the eight grand and reserve champions in each species. Although the sale was shy of the records shattered in 2023, the 2024 Auction of Junior Livestock Champions still marks the second highest sale in NWSS history. 

Top lambs and goats

The auction kicked off with the grand and reserve champion lambs. 

Shown by Kinley Pruett of Elk City, Okla., the 2024 Grand Champion Lamb, fondly referred to as Colby, sold for $52,000 to APC Resources. 

The Reserve Champion Lamb, known as Salinas, was exhibited by 18-year-old Carson Keller of Piqua, Kan. and was sold for $40,000 to Audra and Sean McNicholas of TKM Foundation. 

“I am so excited,” Keller told 9News during the sale. “This is my second time making the sale, and I really appreciate my family and all of the hard work they do to help me out. Most of this money will go toward technical school so I can be a lineman, but next year will be my last year in the showring so some of it will go back into livestock.” 

Mile High, the Grand Champion Goat, was shown by Sayde Allen of Elk City, Okla. and sold to Babson Farms for $30,000, while Chili, the Reserve Champion Goat, shown by 13-year-old Dayton Mortvedt of Lynnville, Iowa, sold to Northwestern Holding, LLC for $26,000. 

Champion steers

High bids continued to roll as the top two market steers entered the sale ring. 

Frosty, a Charolais steer shown by 13-year-old Croix Reimann of Ree Heights, S.D., was the 2024 NWSS Grand Champion Junior Market Steer and sold for $185,000 to Ames Construction Company, just shy of the $200,000 record set in 2023. 

Hailing from Riverside, Iowa, 14-year-old Mason Shalla exhibited the Reserve Champion Steer known as Bear, which sold for $100,000 to Transwest Trucks, Inc. 

“I’m excited and nervous,” Shalla said as he exited the ring. “And, I want to thank all of the buyers and people who put on the NWSS.”

Winning hogs

The Grand Champion Hog, BB, shown by 18-year-old Gavin Straka of Yukon, Okla., sold to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce for $60,000. 

“It is such a pleasure to be here, and I just want to say thank you to all of the buyers. Without them, none of this would be possible, and I am very appreciative of all they do for the NWSS,” Straka stated, further noting he will use the money towards future 4-H projects and life endeavors. 

Kamlynn Mason, a 12-year-old from Montgomery, Texas, exhibited Titan, the Reserve Champion Hog, which sold for $55,000 to OXY. Mason noted she intends to use the money to attend Texas A&M University. 

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

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