Calves keep boy busy

August 06, 2003|by JENNIFER SMITS

Brandon Smith walked his calf, Bessy, around the show ring during the dairy cattle show at the Washington County Ag Expo on Tuesday.

As soon as the class was over, the 9 year old from Clear Spring darted across the arena to grab the lead rope of his other calf, Miriam. The calf was waiting patiently with Brandon's mother.

Miriam finished in second place in her class, while Bessy finished in fifth place in the other class. Brandon said that Bessy is the better calf, but had more competition in her class.


After his classes were over, Brandon held the lead rope of his sister's calf and watched the show.

This is Brandon's first year in 4-H but he is no stranger to showing cows. He has been showing them for four years in pre 4-H, he said.

Brandon said he likes spending the week at the Expo and getting to see all of his friends. He said that he also participated in the Pedal Tractor Pull, pulling 80 pounds, and participated in the swine show.

"It's really fun," he said.

In the petting farm tent, 3-year-old Kaitlin Beatty used real wool to decorate a small wooden ornament in the shape of a sheep. Her 11-year-old sister, Alyssa, helped her position the wool and use the glue without making a mess.

Ginger Beaty, Kaitlin and Alyssa's grandmother, took the Williamsport girls to the Expo to see the animals and exhibits.

"I think it's wonderful," she said. "The kids really love the petting farm because they don't live on a farm and it gets them exposed to animals."

Kaitlin said the "little piggys" are her favorite animals at the Expo.

Sarah Johnson, 14, of Keedysville, spent Tuesday morning sitting in her goat's pen, keeping the animal company.

Blitz, her Alpine dairy goat, seemed to like the attention as the two sat quietly in a pile of straw. Both goat and owner watched from the pen as people passed by to look at the animals.

Sarah said she likes having a dairy goat because she won't have to sell the animal at the auction. Blitz and Sarah will enter the show ring on Thursday during the Dairy Goat Show.

Sarah said that when she's not hanging out with Blitz, she also has a horse to take care of. She showed the horse at the English horse show on Saturday.

She said that she didn't do very well at the event but isn't discouraged because it was only her "second or third show ever."

Earial and Tex stand quietly in the milking parlor. The milking machine is hooked to their udders and begins to suck the white liquid into an attached container.

The cows look at the people standing outside the milking parlor. In about five minutes the process is over, and Earial and Tex return to the barn. Other cows take their places in the milking stalls. A line of cows, heavy with milk, and their owners wait outside. The crowd keeps watching.

Earial and Tex's owner, Jenni Herbst, 19, of Smithsburg, said her cows are milked twice a day and the milk is sent to milk producers in Maryland and Virginia. She said the machine's vacuum-like mechanism gently squeezes and sucks the udder and does not hurt the cows.

Herbst said that before a cow has its first calf, it is brought into the milking parlor so that it can get used to the experience.

This is Herbst's last year in 4-H. She said she has shown animals at the Ag Expo ever since she was 8 years old, starting with rabbits and chickens and moving on to swine and cows.

"This year I only have dairy cows," she said

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