Animal bought at Salinas fair in honor of Dennis Caprara, who was a lifelong supporter of FFA and 4-H 

TEMPLETON — Templeton FFA student Kyle Walker (19) was last in line to auction his lamb at the Salinas Valley Fair, which wrapped up on May 15. Typically, the last animal to auction goes for the lowest price, but that changed when Walker’s lamb was purchased for $500 per pound. 

Templeton FFA member Kyle Walker is shown with with Jerry Rava (left) and Brian Caprara, who purchased Walker’s lamb at the Salinas Valley Fair. Contributed Photo

Rava Ranches and Brian Caprara purchased the lamb in memory of Brian’s late father, Dennis Caprara, who passed in April 2021.

“Every year, he always stepped up and bought a significant amount of animals at the Salinas Valley Fair, and no matter where you went in the community, he always supported everything,” said Jerry Rava.

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Dennis Caprara grew up in Salinas Valley, where he was an active 4-H and FFA member and found his lifelong passion for agriculture. Growing up, he worked for many farms in the Gonzales area, learning all the various aspects of the industry.

Throughout his life, Caprara remained an integral part of the agriculture community in the Salinas Valley. He was past chairman of the Grower-Shipper Vegetable Association and director of the Salinas Valley River Coalition. Additionally, he received many awards and honors for his efforts, including the Cal State Monterey Bay Distinguished Fellow-Ag Businessman of the Year, Salinas Area Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Leadership Award, and Future Farmers of America Honorary Chapter Farmer. 

Caprara continued being a supporter of 4-H and FFA. He enjoyed annually attending the Salinas Valley Fair and Monterey County Fair Livestock Auctions, where he was an honoree and member of their Heritage Foundations.

“He [Dennis] was a mentor of mine, and he meant a lot to me. So it was all about the significance of remembering Dennis,” added Rava, “It was the last animal, and the auction was finally finished, so everyone left remembering Dennis was kind of my goal.”

The Salinas Valley Fair was Walker’s last time to hit the show ring as an FFA member. Students can show livestock as an FFA member until they are 19 years old. Walker is now attending Modesto Community College studying agriculture business. 

Due to a conflicting work schedule, Walker will not be able to show an animal at the California Mid-State Fair, so this auction was the last of his FFA career. 

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Walker of his auction price. “I am grateful for them and all that they did.”

Walker plans to put the money towards his college expenses. He plans to transfer to a Texas university soon to continue his studies in agriculture business. 

Dennis Caprara was an important figure in Rava’s and Brian Caprara’s life. Their purchase of the animal together was spontaneous but held significant importance to them. Dennis Caprara was known to be the designated man behind the barbecue grill and was always willing to help raise money for those who needed it.

“We never want anyone to forget his name,” Rava said.

Feature photo provided by Salinas Valley Fair.