The 22nd Annual Lamb Bonanza, a yearly feed held to raise awareness for lamb and wool production, was held Jan. 18. During halftime of the men’s basketball game against University of Nebraska-Omaha, six lamb pelts were auctioned to fundraise scholarships to support SDSU student athletes and students within the fields of Animal Science and Textile Merchandising.
This year, there was a desired goal to raise $400 a piece for scholarships. Six pelts were sold at the auction at halftime of the men’s game and each pelt achieved $850-$1100. When the first Lamb Bonanza was held, the auction for the lamb pelts grossed over $200 a piece. Last year the grossing was four times that number.
As fans lined up to get tickets scanned, they were introduced to lamb leg sandwiches and crackers with lamb spread. Approximately 700 sandwiches were served at the game, which were supplied by Strauss Brands Inc. Recipes were also available for the fans if interested.
Sponsors of the Lamb Bonanza were the SD Sheep Growers Association, the SDSU Animal Science Department, the SDSU Athletic Department, and Strauss Brands Inc.
“The event has three main focuses: to promote lamb consumption, to promote the wool industry, and to promote and fundraise scholarships to students of animal science and textile merchandising, as well as student athletes,” said Patty DeZeeuw, a volunteer from the South Dakota Sheep Growers Association.
DeZeeuw said that the event also serves as a Sheep Growers promoter – to generate more awareness for the association. The SD Sheep Growers Association has a primary focus on lamb and fiber promotion and keeps members updated across the state on sheep industry issues.
“The Lamb Bonanza is a partnership between the public and SDSU faculty, as well as an interaction with the public and producers,” said Jeff Held, an extension sheep specialist and professor of Sheep Production and Management. “About twenty people, contributed to the making and continuing of Lamb Bonanza.”
Held believes that events like Lamb Bonanza, Beef Bowl, and the Pork Classic have a long term impact and need to be continued. He also believes that the appreciation of a younger generation is an ideal audience and the key for promotion and events like this are volunteers and producers.