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Steer brings record price

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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Record setter

RECORD SETTER – Wise County 4-H member, Ethan Drager, won reserve grand champion at the Houston Livestock Show. His steer sold for a record $367,000. Submitted photo

As he watched and heard the price grow for his reserve champion steer Saturday, Ethan Drager knew the hours of work every day in the barn had paid off.

By the time the bidding stopped, Drager’s steer was part of history at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Champagne Cowgirls paid a record $367,000 for the Wise County 4-H member’s project.

“It’s still settling in. It’s hard to believe,” Drager said. “It’s a lot more money than I thought I’d see in my life. I’m glad this group of select people are willing to spend money on kids like me.”

Drager’s sale coupled with the record $625,000 brought in for Lillyan Digby’s grand champion brought in just shy of $1 million. All but $115,000 of that total will go to the livestock show’s scholarship fund.

Drager, 15, of Bridgeport, will get $45,000 off the sale. He’s honored to bring in more than $320,000 to help other students.

“Until I went to the state FFA convention, I never realized how much that money above the cap actually meant to other kids,” Drager said. “You see how it changes their lives. It makes it worth it, especially for kids that share the same passion as we do.”

Drager has been in the show arena since he was 8 along with his brother.

“I love it. Ever since I could remember, I wanted to be in the barn with my dad. That’s where the passion took off,” he explained.

He can usually be found in the barn before school putting calves under fans to keep them cool. In the evening, he’s feeding and washing animals and working on his showmanship. Ethan and his mother, Marissa, point out it’s a family effort.

To Ethan, the chance to work with his family is even better than the reserve champion title or the record sale price.

“Being there with my family, people that love and support me, after a year of hard work is what it’s all about,” he said. “The rest is a cherry on top.”

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