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Ag Expo volunteers pull all-nighter to do cleanup

August 12, 2000

Ag Expo volunteers pull all-nighter to do cleanup



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer


Many Ag Expo volunteers weren't counting sheep during Saturday's pre-dawn hours.

After the last capon was sold at the 4-H Market Animal Sale Friday night, event volunteers began cleaning up from the week-long event, said Jeff Semler, a University of Maryland Cooperative Extension agent specializing in 4-H in Washington County.

"We'll work all night," he said earlier Friday.

The effort wrapped up what Semler called a "moderately successful" 2000 Ag Expo at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center south of Hagerstown.

After last year's washout, Semler said he counted the mostly dry weather a blessing.

Last Sunday's downpours forced event organizers to cancel that day's big event- an $8,000 rodeo for which visitors pay $10 each to attend- to cut losses, Semler said.

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But the weather cooperated for the rest of the week, and the Ag Expo's volunteer board of directors should "more than cover costs," Semler said.

Thousands of volunteer hours carried the Expo to fruition, he said.

"Everyone's just pulled together to make this happen," he said.

The agricultural community especially bonded at this year's Expo to support a local family dealing with cancer. "Friends of Bobby Stiles" upped the auction bid on the Boonsboro teenager's hog, buying the swine Friday night for more than $4,500.

The 2000 Ag Expo was also the birthplace of several species.

Ten newborn piglets jockeyed for positions to suckle with their mother in the Expo's petting area Friday. A Brown Swiss dairy calf was born Thursday night, and "Eggo," a baby Milking Shorthorn bull, made his entry into the world Tuesday.

Several children said Friday that petting the new arrivals was the high point of their Ag Expo experience.

Colton Rhoderick, 6, of Hagerstown, said the Brown Swiss calf was still wet when he ran his small hands across the newborn animal's hide.

Joshua Land, 3, of Hagerstown, said he liked seeing the calves and bottle-feeding a baby goat.

But the highlight of Joshua's week-long stay at the Ag Expo was sitting atop "King Solomon," a 2-year-old miniature horse, he said.

"I liked riding him and doing all that stuff," said Joshua with his fingers entwined in King Solomon's bridle.

Fairplay brothers Derek and Shawn Wiles, 10 and 11, said the peak of their week was watching the mud fly at Thursday's tractor pull. The boys relived the event in their imaginations Friday as they mounted a number of tractors on the Expo grounds.

Hagerstown siblings Ashley Rhoderick, 13, and Amy Rhoderick, 11, said this year's Ag Expo was a chance to see lots of their friends in one place.

"I've really liked being near everybody," Ashley said.

The food also made the week worthwhile, many Expo enthusiasts said.

Hawaii native Robin Early's shaved ice stand was a gathering place for kids all week, she said.

"No matter what time we get here, we're late," Early said, laughing.

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