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Dairy cattle are shown

August 04, 2004|by RYAN C. TUCK

ryant@herald-mail.com

The Main Show Ring at Washington County Ag Expo more closely resembled a runway for a fashion show than a pavilion Tuesday morning. But instead of Versace, Tommy Hilfiger or Dolce & Gabbana, names such as spring yearling, winter heifer and dry cow were called.

The event was the 4-H/FFA Dairy Cattle Show and blue ribbons, not spring catalogs, were handed out.

Dairy cattle are not sold following a show, said Hannah Smith, 16, of Rocky Haven Farm in Clear Spring.

The animals compete for prizes, then return to the farms with happy or disappointed owners, she said.

Hannah, who was showing six dairy cows, was preparing her fall heifer, Red Rose, before the show began.

Typical preparations for a cattle show include washing and drying the cow, combing the hair, brushing the tail, cleaning the entire body, especially the hooves, and then straightening the top line, Hannah said.

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The top line, the hair directly above the spine, can be fixed to appear straighter. Something close to hair spray, hair clippers and hard work are needed to fix the top line, Hannah said.

Fixing the top line was very important to J.R. Lowery, 10, of Boonsboro, since his spring yearling was a "little beefy."

Ryan Wiles, 17, who had shown for so long he couldn't remember when he started, was showing multiple cattle again this year.

Ryan recommended that one walk the cattle before a show so the animals can "get confident with you."

Macayla Wiles, 9, was showing multiple cows and her favorite, Perma, a spring yearling, won Grand Prize for her division.

Macayla had been with Perma since 5 a.m. Tuesday preparing for the show.

"I'm not nervous," she said before the show. "I'm proud of her ... I'll do my best."

Courtney Shaw's fall yearling came in last in her show group but Courtney shared Macayla's sense of pride in her animal.

"She's so pretty," Courtney said after the show. "I relax with her, talk to her, spend time with her ... I like her."

Courtney and Macayla had shown cattle at Ag Expo in the past, but others, like Sabrina Smith, 9, of Williamsport, were showing for the first time.

"I was nervous and it was hot - and hard," Sabrina said between shows. "You have to show them who's boss."

At the end of the show, winners competed for a Supreme Holstein Champion.

Tessa Wiles, 10, and her heifer, Lady McBeth, were awarded the top prize and will move on to the Maryland State Fair.

"I was tickled that she won," a delighted Tessa said after the announcement.

After the show, the cattle and those who showed them headed toward the stalls and some food.

When asked how she would reward her winning cow, Macayla said she wasn't sure.

"Maybe some extra hay," she said.

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