Big hats, big bulls & big bucks at Rodeo Austin Youth Livestock Auction

The annual Rodeo Austin Youth Livestock Auction gave out $1.2 million Friday.

The auction is almost as intense as the competition in the rodeo arena itself. On the block show-goats, poultry, and pigs, raised by school kids who learn a valuable life lesson.

"That hard work, that effort, creates discipline and opportunity for them to further their education, and to see that and witness that is a wonderful thing,” said Auction Chairman Craig Teykl

The big money waited for the big beef. Pongo, this year's 13-hundred pound grand champion was raised by Anna Grace Bourgeois. When she got him a year ago Pongo was a little smaller, unlike the job of caring for him which started early every day.

"He taught me to never give up. We've gone through 3 majors together and we've never placed, and this is the last one, and we won it all, so, never give up because good things happen."

Anna Grace was hoping to raise $15,000 but, a bidding war started and that pushed up the price for pongo. He went for $60,000. The money raised by Pongo will go into her college fund.

The livestock was certainly the main focus of the auction, but there were other ways where money was also raised. Western themed art was showcased.  A painting titled 'Best Friend' by Georgetown High School student Gus Helpert went for just over two grand.

"I didn’t even expect to come to this auction, it’s really exciting,” said Helpert.

Parting with one's artwork is not the same as giving up an animal that you've raised. It had high school senior Kacy Bland in tears.

"He is like a best friend, to me, it gets emotional. As you can see, he is like family.”

Her steer, Pumpkin won second place in what is Bland's last show. His sale added $20,000 to her college fund.

"All of them that I've grown up and raised, they all mean something to me. Its special ... no, it’s not easy."

Pumpkin and Pongo, like all livestock, will be sent to a stockyard but first they will go to Texas Tech while there they'll help train future show judges.

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