By: Tyler Wilkerson, sophomore Agricultural Science major
Photos provided by: Caitlin Stanton, senior Agricultural Communication major
Cal Poly’s Western Bonanza Livestock Show originally began as a senior project in 1985 and has now grown to become one of the largest livestock expositions on the west coast. The entirely student-run show welcomed 675 kids and over 4,000 entries to the California Mid State Fairgrounds in Paso Robles over President’s Day Weekend. The beautiful weather and smell of shavings in the crisp morning were a welcoming sight to exhibitors from as far as Washington and the southern United States.
Western Bonanza would not be possible without the talented individuals on the Leadership Team who devote their fall and spring quarters fundraising over $80,000 to make sure the show is successful. The students run every aspect of the show, from online entries, awards, and of course clean up duty in the cattle ring. Along with the Leadership Team, over 80 Cal Poly students are assigned to various committees to help the leadership team wherever assistance is needed.
With a team of Bonanza classmates, seniors, Tatum Holdener and Karl Montague helped in hosting “The Best in the West” livestock auction to Western Bonanza this year. Western Bonanza General Manager Sommer Boyd played a large role in securing consignment animals for the highly anticipated event on Friday night. Quincie Gourley and Samantha Munoz worked diligently to provide the VIP Sponsor Booth that kept buyers entertained during the livestock preview. An assortment of 31 animals sold at an average of $1,000 a head to various buyers from California to be shown at county fairs and the California State Fair in July. The hogs, sheep, and goats sold in the sale were given free entry into Saturday’s show and competed well.
Year after year, Western Bonanza continues to grow and prosper in the livestock industry. As someone who exhibited livestock at Western Bonanza for over 5 years, I couldn’t be more proud to put on such an incredible event for junior livestock exhibitors. Western Bonanza may be a place full of buckles and buckets, but also memories that will forever hold a place in my heart. I hope that the hard work my fellow classmates and I put into the show will allow exhibitors to make amazing memories like I did.
If you are interested in becoming a part of Western Bonanza in the future please do not hesitate! The class is offered during winter quarter to all students and is listed as ASCI 212 in PASS. Make sure to join us next year as we continue Branding Champions!