Every Washington Fair has a long list of unsung supporters, many of whom receive little or no recognition — much like the volunteers who every year show up and do many visible and invisible tasks that are necessary in operating the event. A group that does receive some recognition through publicity is the many buyers of market Blue Ribbon livestock that is auctioned the Saturday of the Fair. Without the buyers’ support, a major event at the Fair would suffer.

The Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction means a great deal to hundreds of youth who exhibit their livestock. Over the years, thousands of rural youth have benefited from the auction. They receive above market prices for their entries. We should write “considerably higher prices.”

The exhibitors look forward to being rewarded for their efforts in raising a head or two of livestock. They are given a lesson in agricultural economics since many keep track of what they have invested in raising a Blue Ribbon entry. Most do not keep a record of the time spent in this endeavor, but it can be considerable. What they receive for their entries makes their efforts worthwhile.

We’ve heard a number of the exhibitors remark in many Washington Fairs that the money they receive goes into their saving accounts for education, mainly college. That’s been the situation for generations of rural youths.

Another spin-off from exhibiting livestock is that a number of the farm youth mature into adulthood and join the livestock committee, which year after year performs in an outstanding manner in running the livestock shows and auctions. That is no small task. It’s a big operation that runs like clockwork. The committee’s experience is obvious.

Every year at the auction, new buyers show up. That is needed to keep the high level of bidding. Anyone can be a buyer. At every auction the veteran buyers are on hand. There are businesses and individuals who don’t miss an auction. There are several auction supporters who have not missed an auction since they began more than 60 years ago when the modern day Fairs began. The total number of bidders and buyers has been increasing. The bidders come from a wide area.

It has become one of the top livestock auctions in the state held at a Fair. The Washington Fair has a statewide reputation and so does the livestock auction. The 2012 Fair auction grossed $334,693 for exhibitors. There were 62 steers that were sold for a total of $160,415; 152 hogs that went for a total of $153,749; 14 lambs were sold for $12,129; and the dairy products total was $8,400.

The Fair has many highlights for the varied interests of people. For many fairgoers, the livestock shows and auction top the list of their interests.

The 2013 action begins at noon Saturday. It’s as entertaining as it is rewarding for the exhibitors.