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Ag Expo to feature rodeo

June 09, 1998|By LISA GRAYBEAL

There will be rides at this year's 18th annual Washington County Ag Expo, but they aren't the kind most people may have in mind.

Kicking off the Ag Expo, which runs Saturday, Aug. 1 through Friday, Aug. 7, will be Dave Martin's Championship Rodeo, featuring bareback riding, saddle bronco riding, and bull riding.

It will be the first full rodeo to be featured at Ag Expo, which organizers hope will attract thousands to the weeklong agricultural event.

The rodeo is just one of many activities highlighting Ag Expo, held at the county's Agricultural Education Center, 10 miles south of Hagerstown off Sharpsburg Pike.

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Although Ag Expo is intended to be just what its name suggests - an exposition of the county's agriculture - each year organizers try to come up with new ways to make the event appeal to a wide variety of interests.

The rodeo, tractor and truck pulling contests, a classic car show, and live country and oldies music, all have been scheduled this year with the public in mind.

"We're trying to entice people to come to the Expo who aren't necessarily ag-oriented," said Jeff Semler, Washington County 4-H extension agent.

For years, Ag Expo board members have considered requests by the public to bring in carnival-type rides and activities to the event.

But the midway atmosphere has been kept from Ag Expo for two main reasons.

First, carnival rides are not permitted on county park land under a lease agreement with the University of Maryland, Semler said.

Second, board members and organizers of the Ag Expo don't want to compete with firefighters' carnivals held over the summer as fund-raisers for the different companies, Semler said.

Organizers also don't want to lose sight of what Ag Expo is.

"The purpose is to showcase agriculture," Semler said.

In keeping with tradition, Ag Expo will feature 4-H and FFA animal shows and contests, cow milking, quilting, spinning and weaving, and sewing and craft demonstrations.

There will be an ice cream churning contest, turtle races and a petting farm, among other events.

Weekly passes for $15 and $6 exhibitor passes are available at the Cooperative Extension Office, 1260 Maryland Ave., before July 31, or at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Aug. 1 and until noon Aug. 2.

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