Hard work pays off for Dayton students at FFA livestock show

Breely Buffamonte, Grand Champion Steer

Dayton youths earned a whopping $282K from the sale of their show animals and projects at the 71st Annual Dayton FFA Livestock Show and Rodeo on Saturday at the Anson Rigby Memorial Arena in Dayton.

Dayton FFA officials on Wednesday said they have already received $30,000 in add-on bids since the livestock sale with more coming in each day.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, neither the animals nor the students were on hand for the auction. The bidders instead looked at a screen and booklets that displayed photos of the students with their projects.

Dayton sophomore Breely Buffamonte earned the highest bid of $11,500 for her 1,231-pound Grand Champion Steer. It was purchased by Thriftee Food Center of Dayton.

Buffamonte wants to show market lambs for TVE later this year and at shows in San Antonio and Houston. She hopes to attend a four-year university and major in agriculture.

Matthew Payne, a sophomore at Dayton High School, had the 1,346-pound Reserve Market Steer, which was sold for $6,500 to Lopez Roofing. Payne is looking forward to next year’s Dayton FFA Rodeo and Livestock Show where he plans to show breeding Santa Gertrudis cattle.

He plans to attend Texas Tech University to pursue a degree in agriculture.

The Grand Champion Heifer was raised by Dayton seventh-grader Savanna Hanson. The 959-pound animal sold for $6,500 to Mobiloil Credit Union.

Hanson plans to keep showing cattle at local and major livestock shows and has her sights set on attending Texas A&M University to pursue a medical or agricultural career.

Cameron Ripkowski, a sixth-grade student in Dayton, raised the Reserve Champion Heifer, which weighed in at 1,123 pounds. The animal sold for $5,250 to Barn Divas.

Her long-range goals are to show more projects at livestock shows and to attend college after graduation in a few years.

Ryan Cormier is a senior at Dayton High School. He raised the Grand Champion Swine, which sold for $4,750 to Lopez Roofing. Cormier will be attending Lee College next year to study process technology.

Skylar Dzanski, a 10th-grade student at Dayton High School, raised the Reserve Champion Swine, which sold for $4,749 to PFS Group.

Dzanski wants to continue showing pigs next year and plans to try her luck at raising heifers. She hopes to one day become a veterinarian.

Fifth-grade student Tanner Lott raised the Grand Champion Goat, which sold for $4,750 to Los Compadres Restaurant.

Lott has ambitious plans to raise and show as many animals as he can before he graduates in a few years. He is undecided on his future career path, but he plans to play baseball and attend college.

Chesnie Payne, a ninth-grade student at Dayton High School, sold her Reserve Champion Goat for $4,000 to A & H Services. Payne hopes to attend cosmetology school and become a cosmetologist.

Seventh-grade student Avery Philley raised the Grand Champion Broiler, which sold for $3,000 to Chachere Vet Clinic. Philley wants to continue showing broilers and would like to raise and show alpacas.

Alayne Philley had the Reserve Champion Broiler, which sold for $2,800 to Wowco Equipment Company in Baytown. Philley wants to continue showing heifers and broilers.

The Grand Champion Rabbit was raised by James Spoerle, a fifth-grade student in Dayton. It sold for $3,000 to Brookshire Brothers. Spoerle plans to attend trade school in the future.

In her first-year of showing animals, Savannah Ballinger raised the Reserve Champion Rabbit, which sold for $2,600 to McDonalds. Ballinger plans to use that money to pay for another 4-H project and put toward her savings for college.

Taylor West built a bench that transforms into a picnic table. His project earned the Grand Champion Ag Mechanic ribbon. This was West’s first time showing a project. He plans to use the money toward a project for next year.

West is a 10th-grade student in Dayton.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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