Toddler at Ag Expo makes feline friend

August 09, 2002

After feeding a baby kitten with her water bottle at the Ag Expo petting farm Thursday, Anna House said, "I want a green kitty."

The 3-year-old Hagerstown girl dangled a piece of string from the top of the cage and played with the newborn cat, saying if she had a cat at home, it would be named, coincidentally, "Anna," and would be a girl because "they're nicer and they get in less trouble."

She said she also enjoyed watching the baby pigs and letting the infant goats lick her arms.

"I saw a fuzzy lamb," she said. "I saw the bunnies too. I like the little ones. They are this big," she said, squeezing her fingers together until there was no space left between them.


Instead of showing their dairy animals Thursday morning, a group of Ag Expo handlers took a turn judging their peers' cattle to practice for the Maryland State Fair.

The Washington County 4-H Judging Team consists of four members and two alternates. The team pits its animal judging skills against those of other teams at the state fair. All of them said being on the team helps them decide which of their own animals to show at Ag Expo.

"My mom's the coach and I did it so I know cows and pick the right ones to show," said Jordan Creek, 15, of Hagers-town.

Her mother, Mary Creek, told the group to determine which animal has the ideal dairy body, not which is largest, when selecting the top animals in a class.

Despite the aversion some may have to the Texas longhorn, Stacie Leatherman of Boonsboro doesn't worry about the size of the breed's horns.

"They're not really as mean as they look," the 13-year-old said while waiting with her longhorn "Sassafras" to enter the ring for the fitting and showing competition.

Leatherman has had experience dodging the large horns for which the breed is famous.

"A heifer might throw their head but that's because they're trying to protect their calves," she said. The longhorn, which once was raised in great numbers in the Southwest, retains the instinct to protect its young from coyotes.

"They'll kill a coyote if they have to," she said.

The Breeden cousins of Hagerstown knew if they went to Ag Expo with their grandmother, they would get snow cones for good behavior.

Autumn, Branden, Alysen, and Courtney gathered around their grandmother as she passed out the treats behind the cattle barn.

Alysen, 9, found a paw print on the bottom of her snow cone and won a free one that she promptly took for herself, giving what was left of her initial snow cone to 18-month-old Madison Breeden.

"I'm a winner! Here you go kid. Suck it up," she said, handing off her blue raspberry treat and ordering a watermelon snow cone for herself.

The youngsters received the dessert after watching the Texas longhorn competition. "If I had a longhorn, I'd sandpaper their horns down," said Courtney, 9.

"I think they'd tame me," said Branden, 11. "I'd listen to them because I don't want to touch them."

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