DOUGLAS — While this year’s 96th annual Cochise County Fair has been cancelled, the small and large livestock show and sale that goes on every year at the county fair will still take place.
A cleanup day is scheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 12 at the fairgrounds on Leslie Canyon Road as the Cochise County Fair Association prepares for the upcoming livestock show and sale which is scheduled for Sept. 24-27.
According to Mike Zamudio, president of the Cochise County Fair Junior Livestock Committee, there will be small and large livestock shows Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Sept. 23-26. Grand and reserve champions will be selected. On Sunday, Sept. 27 there will be a large and small stock round robin showmanship competition followed by the awards ceremony.
The small stock sale will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to noon followed by the large stock sale starting at 1 p.m. The show and auction will not be open to the public and only to pre-registered prospective buyers as well as those showing/selling their animals. Facial coverings will be required. Hand sanitizer will also be available.
“It’s all going to pretty much be the same as it has been in the past the only exception being that we will be doing a simulcast sale which will be broadcast in real time on the Cochise County Fair website where people will be able to bid online as the auction is going,” Zamudio said. “The add-ons will be available online as well, even after the close of the sale. I expect those to be available until Monday evening or Tuesday morning after the sale.”
In order to bid on an animal however pre-registration is required under the junior livestock buyer link on the Cochise County Fair website.
“If buyers want to attend the sale they are welcome to come in person but they have to pre-register with the fair office to get their passes because we have to limit the number of people on the grounds,” Zamudio said. “If people just show up we’re not going to be able to let them in.”
Tables for the sale will be set up in such a way that accommodate the social distancing regulations that are in place.
“Families will be able to sit with families,” Zamudio stated. “Prospective buyers can register up to the day of the sale. Entries for the livestock show closed Sept. 5. We also have a buyers pool that supports all the kids across the board in a blanket add-on if people want to do that too. The buyers pool is designed for businesses that don’t want to go to the show but want to support the kids. They can give a blanket add-on. That information is available at the fair office. At the end of the sale we are going to take however much money was raised and divide it up amongst all the kids both small stock and large stock.”
Zamudio admitted dealing with COVID-19 and the constantly changing dynamics of it has made planning for the show and sale extremely difficult.
“We’ve been planning on having a live show for a while,” he said. “We didn’t get the go-ahead until just recently. Right now people need to understand how important agriculture is in our world. We want to help these kids become future agriculture producers. Our country is currently seeing a big shortage with COVID and all these packing houses shutting down. I don’t think many in the general public really understands where their food really comes from.”
Dominique Valenzuela, the General Manager for the Cochise County Fair Association admitted her second year of planning this fair has been extremely stressful to the point where she has actually shed tears after being limited on what all she can provide this year.
All the fairs throughout the state, including the state fair, have cancelled their events this year. Some are still having livestock shows like what Douglas is doing but the musical entertainment, the variety of food vendors, plus the carnival have all been cancelled. The ever popular Cochise College rodeo will not be taking place this year. Valenzuela is hoping that maybe, she can host a collegiate rodeo in the spring but it probably won’t have the crowd it normally would have during the fair.
“Working with the local health department, trying to follow CDC guidelines and following the executive order that’s in place we just felt there was no way we could host a fair this year,” she said. “Everybody knows the size of crowds we get here. To social distance people and follow all those guidelines was not going to be possible.”
Valenzuela added many of the vendors she once used have gone out of business.
“Our last glimmer of hope is the livestock show,” she said. “We’re able to do that because we can socially distance people if that is all that we have going on. We are going to limit how many people we have on the fairgrounds each day.”
Both Zamudio and Valenzuela state that 4-H is not involved in the show or sale this year and support only the virtual side of the event.
“We’ve had to create a new category for these kids to be able to show and sell,” Valenzuela said. “We’re trying to make it so that these kids that come here from out of town, don’t have to leave the fairgrounds.”
The fairgrounds manager says what’s happening right now with COVID-19 and all that’s with it, is awful and she’s hopeful it will soon subside.
“With COVID relief plus some of the other bills we’re working on we can survive this year,” she said. “Another year like this? I’m not so sure.”
2020 Cochise County Fair Show Schedule
5 PM Carcass Live Judging (all species) UA Meat Lab
5:30 PM Carcass Evaluation (all species) UA Meat Lab
12-7 PM Small Stock Checked into Small Stock Barn
12-7 PM Large Stock Checked into Large Stock Barn
3-4 PM Goat & Lamb Weigh In
3-4 PM Steer Weigh In 4-6 PM Swine Weigh In
7 PM Large Stock Exhibitors Meeting
8 PM All animals on Fair Grounds
7:45 AM Small Stock Exhibitors Meeting
8 AM — 12 PM Small Stock Showmanship & Breed Judging to follow
1-2 PM Dairy Cattle, Dairy Cattle Showmanship, Beef Builders Breeding Beef: Open, 4H/FFA
2-3 PM Breeding Sheep: Open, 4H/FFA
3-4 PM Pygmy Goat: Open, 4H/FFA
5 PM Breeding Swine, Market Hog, Swine Showmanship: Open, 4H/FFA
8-9 AM Dairy Goats, Showmanship, Pack Goat: Open, 4H/FFA
9-10:30 AM Market Steer & Beef Showmanship: Open, 4H/FFA
10:30 AM – 12 PM Market Goat & Meat Goat Showmanship: Open, 4H/FFA 1-2:30 PM Market Lamb & Sheep Showmanship: Open, 4H/FFA
3-6 PM Dog Show
5 PM Sale Notifications Due
6 PM Livestock Judging Clinic
8 AM Packer Animal Forms Due
8 — 9 AM Small Stock Continental Breakfast
10 AM — 12 PM CCFJL Small Stock sale
11:30 AM — 1 PM Large Stock Buyers Luncheon
1 PM Cochise County Junior Livestock Large Stock Sale
10 AM — 2 PM Large Stock, Small Stock Round Robin Showmanship 1- 2 PM 4H/FFA Awards, Year End & Round Robin
4 PM Load Packer Trucks
4 PM Building Exhibits Released
4 PM All animals out of barns