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Washington County Ag Expo:

Launching generations of creativity

Launching generations of creativity

August 04, 2002|by Liz Boch

If anyone needs to find Jordan Creek, she said the best place to look is in the barn.

Beginning at 4:30 a.m., she bottle-feeds 24 calves and serves another 28 cows grain and hay each day for almost 10 hours, ending at around 7:30 p.m.

Creek, a Hagerstown resident, has been working with cows since she was 8-years-old. That was seven years ago.

She is one of hundreds of young adults preparing for this week's Washington County Ag Expo, held at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center off Sharpsburg Pike Aug. 1 through Aug. 9.

Creek said she hopes to defend her Grand Champion status, and clips and grooms her cows nearly every day to increase her chances.


Like many other participants, Creek said her hard work pays off.

"I like working with my calves," she said. "They're a lot of fun when you're around them. They try to suck on you and run and jump with you."

Creek will not only show her cows, but model her clothing designs in the Fashion Revue today. She began sewing lessons with her grandmother as a child and will submit a handmade skirt and pink, gray and black plaid tube dress into the show.

Williamsport resident Sara Wiles also plans to showcase her designs in the Fashion Revue. Wiles won the 2001 Ag Expo Queen title at 14 and is also showing her dairy goats and baking cakes for the cake exhibit this year.

Like Creek, Wiles, 15, said working with animals requires patience.

"It's a continuous thing," she said. "I started with my kids - she means goats - in May and will go until the end of August. When you're first trying to lead it around, it acts up because it doesn't want to."

Wiles' duties as queen kept her busy up until the 2002 Ag Expo Queen Contest. She supplied her voice to numerous Ag Expo radio advertisements and handed her crown to the new queen Friday, Aug. 2.

"I didn't like hearing my voice on the radio, but I found a lot of benefits of being queen," she said. "It's helped my speaking ability, definitely. I've gotten more responsible."

Both Creek and Wiles are among many other young participants exhibiting their talents in multiple areas of the Ag Expo. Amanda Ward, 11, entered projects in the woodworking, sewing, hobbies and crafts, and cooking contests.

The Hagerstown resident said although she has little free time, her day is better spent working on projects.

"I'm pretty busy, but it keeps me from doing other stuff like watching television or playing on the computer," she said.

Ward sewed a pillow and a 4-H bear for the sewing exhibit. She also spent two months making a white duck for the woodworking contest, and will submit a picture frame and a marble collection for the exhibit. She won third-place last year for a swing she refinished after her father found it in the woods near Camp David.

Ward said her favorite piece is her "candy chair" that won first-place last year. She decorated the seat to resemble an ice cream sandwich, the back rest like cotton candy and the legs and back support posts like peppermint sticks.

Her mother, Leslie Ward, said Amanda learns organization by participating in Ag Expo events.

"She's just so excited to see what she can do," Leslie Ward said. "When she took third on the swing, she was competing with herself."

Jenna Polk of Hagerstown will be showing her dog "J.B.," or "Jenna's Boy" in the Ag Expo 4-H/FFA Dog Show. This is her first Ag Expo and she has spent months teaching the Maltese to sit and lay down by rewarding him with treats.

"His favorite ones are the yogurt drops," she said. "He knows when we shake the jar he's going to get a treat, but he has to do something to get one."

Williamsport resident Brooks Long has competed for 10 years in the 4-H/FFA Dairy Steer Show, taking Grand Champion for his Brown Swiss cows at 15.

The 19-year-old said he clips and leads his 13 cows in hopes of winning some spending money at the Ag Expo.

"I spend a lot of time making sure they are walking right and comfortable with the halter," he said. "You don't want something to go wrong, so when the judge comes around, you hope the cow doesn't take off and ruin your chances."

Long said after spending five hours a day with his cows in preparation for his last 4-H competition, he wants to go out with a bang.

"I want to win Grand Champion. I'll continue to show in Open Class judging though," he said.

Even though the work continues after the Ag Expo is over, the five exhibitors said they never tire.

"It's always that competitive nature that gets me," Long said.

Ward agreed and said she plans to add more exhibits to her schedule next year, including entering her dog in the dog show.

She said staying busy with Ag Expo projects was better than being bored.

"One day I got bored and I wanted to do something. I found some popsicle sticks and now I'm making a Jeep out of them," she said. "I'm not tired, so maybe I'll do this next year."

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