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At Expo, Ag-ony and ecstasy

August 10, 2002|by Liz Boch

lizb@herald-mail.com

After seven days with friends and family, young participants in the Washington County Ag Expo said Friday they will sorely miss some aspects and happily forget others.

Heather Schnebly, 16, showed dairy cattle and hogs and said she will miss the "attractions" at the Expo.

"I'll miss the boys, the hot boys," the Clear Spring resident said.

Ryan Wiles, 15, said he considered competing at the Ag Expo a healthy way to spend his week.

"I still do it because it's fun," the Williamsport resident said. "You get to talk to your friends, show your cows and make money doing it. Kids learn responsibility and help out one another."

Jessica Stiles of Boonsboro said watching the shows with her circle of friends made the week a success.

"We talked and played cards," the 15-year-old said. "For me it was worth it. I had a lot of fun. I might bring a couple more animals next year."

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Jamie Beckley, 14, said she could have done without the unpredictable weather. She donned shorts and a tank top the first three days of Ag Expo, but that evolved into pants and the occasional sweatshirt.

"The heat was unbearable the first couple days," Beckley, of Hagerstown, said. "Then it got cold at night. It was awful.

"A couple of dairy people and I slept in the show ring. All we had were cots, sleeping bags and one comforter and pillow. I was still cold."

Stiles slept at home all week, but sympathized with Beckley.

"I was cold sleeping at home," the 15-year-old said. "I didn't like how cold it got for the tractor pull. You had to sit there and focus and freeze on the ground."

Stiles won Supreme Grand Champion of the dairy animals in the junior class with her Jersey dairy cow "Miracle."

Clayton Frey of Smithsburg showed dairy cows and said he would appreciate it if the Ag Expo board protected against possible rain.

"They should fill in the dairy barn so it's higher than the rest of the place so it doesn't flood," the 17-year-old said.

Austin Lewis of Hagerstown said although he enjoyed the competition, the drive that pushed him and his friends in the beginning lowered their morale by the end of the week.

"Sitting here all day burns people out," the 17-year-old said. "Everyone gets along, it's just they're all competing against each other. They all want to win. At this point, their competitive edge is fizzled and everyone's had enough."

Beckley agreed with Lewis and said she plans to pull back next year from showing dairy and beef steer, goats, sheep and pigs.

"I didn't really like running around the fairgrounds because I had animals in every area," she said. "It was a lot of work, but it's my own dumb fault. Next year, goats are going down and sheep will go, too."

For Marci Drury, 18, this is the last year she will compete in 4-H. To round out her experience, her pigs won first- and second-place in their weight class. She said it was a rewarding way to conclude her run.

"It'll never be the same coming back," she said. "I'll be a visitor, not an exhibitor. I'll miss spending the week with my friends."

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