Seen and heard at Ag Expo

August 02, 2004

Stefany Frey, 13, was getting her switch-hitting horse ready for the Western horse show on Saturday.

Last year, George, Frey's 18-year-old, brown quarter horse was entered into the English horse show, but he is able to show in both styles of competition, which use different trotting styles as well as types of gear used to guide the horse.

Frey's mother, Lennie Frey, 42, said her daughter had worked well with George, who was a therapeutic horse for human physical therapy, at a nearby center in Huyetts Crossroads.

Stefany Frey, who lives outside Funkstown, said she was going to borrow her friend's female horse for the riding part of the show.


Although speed is of the essence in the clover-leaf barrel competition, in which riders ride in a pattern around the barrels, and the slalom-like "pole bending" competition, Stefany assured her mother she'd be safe.

With damp grass underfoot in the show ring, the girl said, "I might not let her go so fast."

Joel Reynolds, 13, of Smithsburg, was shearing Susie, a sheep that he will sell at Friday night's auction, marking the end of the Ag Expo.

This is the third year Reynolds has entered animals in competition, but he said the first time he couldn't sell his animal he'd gotten so attached to it.

"The first year, I got a goat when he was a day old and bottle-fed him, and didn't sell him," Reynolds said.

This year is different. He said Susie will be shown this week, then sold and eventually butchered.

On Saturday, Reynolds was shearing Susie skintight with the help of a family friend.

He said first he washed the sheep and let her air-dry. It then takes about a half-hour to clip the wool.

You "try to get it so it looks nice for the judges," Reynolds said.

You haven't lived until you've had your hand licked by a goat. Just ask Ryan Hook.

Ryan, 9, was in one of his favorite spots Saturday afternoon - checking out goats in the petting zoo.

"Wanna feed one? He'll eat right out of your hand," Ryan insisted.

And he wasn't kidding. Not only will the critter eat out of your hand, he'll lick it clean - leaving a warm sticky sensation behind.

But that didn't bother Ryan, who will be a fourth-grader at Fountain Rock Elementary School this year. The goats are his favorite animals at the Ag Expo, he said, though he was happy to show the way to the long-horned steers and even a couple of rabbits.

No goats or steers at his home near Williamsport, though. But he does share space with two dogs and several cats.

Showing cattle at the Ag Expo means keeping them groomed to perfection - which is just what 10-year-old Justin Davis, who lives near Williamsport, was doing Saturday afternoon.

Sandwiched between his two steers, Checkers and Hercules, Justin was brushing Hercules while leaning on Checkers.

Checkers didn't seem to mind supporting Justin, even when he sat on him.

"You can sit on them, but they'll get up whenever they want, so I have to kinda slide off," Justin said.

It's his first year showing livestock at the Ag Expo.

"I really like it," he said, which is a good thing because showing cattle is a family affair.

Justin's father, Lance, and his aunt, Kristen Toms, said they all live on the farm that's been in their family for nearly a century. Lance Davis said he'd started showing cattle when he was about Justin's age, and continued until he was 18. Kristen showed cattle, too.

Whether Justin will stay on the farm when he grows up is a little up in the air, but his love for animals seems constant.

"Justin wants to be a veterinarian," his father said, a desire first expressed when he was just a toddler. One of his younger brothers also wants to be a vet, his father said - and one wants to care for large animals while the other is partial to small ones.

So even if the boys don't become farmers, looks like the Davis animals are covered.

Ag Expo Queen Jamie Beckley would be a hit at the Oscars. Her acceptance speech Friday night was short - and sweet.

"I would like to thank everyone who supported me my parents and "

And then she paused as a royal tear crept down her cheek.

" My sister "

Another pause, another tear.

"So thank you!"

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