destiny kates

Raising animals — Honor roll student 13-year-old Destiny Kates worked hard over several months to raise a steer and a sheep for the Healdsburg Future Farmers Country Fair and auction and hopes to use the auction funds to purchase items to have for battle with cancer.

The 2021 Healdsburg Future Farmers Country Fair is underway with animal weigh-in complete and the showmanship and market show for large and small animals kicking off today, May 27.

Online viewing of auction animals starts May 28 and the live/online auction kicks off at 5 p.m.

While this year’s auction is taking place mostly online, with some live and in-person elements, exhibitors like 13-year-old Destiny Kates are still glad to be able to have an auction, which has been a beloved fair tradition since its inception.

Kates worked hard this year to raise a steer named Peppermint and a sheep called Buttercup, and while her recent Osteosarcoma — a type of bone cancer — diagnosis prevents her from showing her animals at the fair in person, she’s still working hard to get her animals auctioned off.

Kates’ mother, Jennifer Kates, said Kates is an animal lover and first started raising animals when she was just seven.

“She started 4-H when she was about seven. Because I was in 4-H I put her in 4-H,” said Jennifer Kates. “She raises guinea pigs, rabbits and she would halter train Dexter cows. She does sheep and this was the first year she was doing a steer.”

Kates’ steer and sheep will be able to be sold at auction due to the generosity of the Healdsburg Fair Board.

“I don’t foresee them not making weight. The Healdsburg Fair Board is very kind in letting her do the auction,” said Jennifer Kates.

Appropriate auction weight for steers is typically 1,000 to 1,250 pounds.

“They can weigh more but they only get up to a certain weight,” Jennifer Kates noted.

She said right now it’s hard to tell what the auction price will be for the steer and the sheep. This year is Kates’ first time raising a steer.

“I think she would have done really good showing them, but we have to protect her legs from breaking, so she can’t really be around him (the steer) and she really has to be careful with infections and stuff,” said Jennifer Kates.

Jennifer Kates said the money that her daughter earns from the auction will go toward things she wants for her battle with cancer.

Kates said she wants a Legos set, but her mother Jennifer said, “Right now her goal is wigs and things to do like Legos and if she has to have a prosthetic, then it would help pay for that. It’s more things for her, it might help with some of her medical, but it’s more for what she wants right now. Usually, her money goes into her college fund and right now it’s more important for her to stay positive and stuff like that.”

Jennifer Kates said there has been a lot of community support for her daughter’s animal raising and auctioning endeavors. Kates’ siblings Michelle and Travis have even lent a hand.

“The person she bought her steer from, David, has been really supportive. He came out and sheared her steer and washed it. Her sheep leader Joe came and has been really supportive of her and helped her shave her sheep and then her brother and sister have taken it upon themselves to try to make sure they’re fed and walked and stuff like that,” said Jennifer Kates. “Like I said, the Healdsburg Fair Board has been very kind in letting her make weight and go to the auction.” 

Kates has had her steer since December and her sheep since January.

Jennifer Kates said she is very proud of her daughter, who has also been on the honor roll at Windsor Christian Academy.

“Since we switched schools from Geyserville to Windsor Christian Academy she has been on the honor roll the whole time,” Jennifer Kates said.

Jennifer Kates said if folks are interested in supporting her daughter by buying an animal or by making a donation they can register and do so at

“They can register at any time, but I believe they said that they have to be registered. It is going to be online and in person ... They also can do add-ons, they don’t have to buy the animal, they can do add-ons to aid the exhibitors,” Jennifer Kates said.   

For more information about this year’s Healdsburg Future Farmers Country Fair and auction and to learn about the exhibitors, visit:

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