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Horses steal show at Pa. fair

August 22, 2005|by DON AINES

WILLIAMSON, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

It would be impossible to know whether horses feel embarrassment the way humans do, but Abigail Pugh's horse was looking a little sheepish Sunday at the Youth Horse Show at the Franklin County Fair.

The 5-year-old miniature horse was swathed in cotton mimicking wool as it played the lamb to 6-year-old Abigail's Mary in the junior division of the costume competition. The costumes were good enough for the Greencastle, Pa., girl to earn second place.

Top honors in the junior division went to Timothy Martin Jr. of Chambersburg, Pa., who was dressed in camouflage combat gear and mounted on a horse named Dolly, who was clad in cardboard armor. Martin said his horse was dressed as an M-49 tank.

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The Youth Horse Show was one of several events Sunday that kicked off the weeklong Franklin County Fair at the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club, 3725 Warm Spring Road.

Joanna Pugh's horse, Buddy, appeared unfazed, calmly awaiting his turn in the fair arena dressed as an elephant. During their moment in the arena, Buddy even gave a bow to the arena audience.

"He's really good about it," said Joanna, 16, dressed as a clown and patting Buddy's neck. The pair took first place in the senior division.

At last year's fair, Joanna said Buddy wore the same costume, but she was outfitted as an elephant trainer.

There were horses in bikinis and grass skirts, one mounted by a knight in shining armor and another dressed as a camel.

Joanna Pugh said eight of the nine children in her family were set to compete in the annual youth horse show, including the Jack Benny Class for those 19 and older. There were more than 20 classes in the show, showing off their skills in a variety of riding styles and disciplines.

On the midway stage, 17 contests in the Little Miss Contest were doing a practice run for tonight's event. Open to girls ages 6 through 8, the contestants practiced their runway walk, waving to the crowd and speaking a few lines into a microphone.

Dale Beaver, 16, of Greencastle, said she is rooting for a relative, Faith Wenger of Waynesboro, Pa., in the Little Miss Contest.

"She's the politest little girl you'll ever meet," she said.

Beaver also will be on the midway stage tonight as one of the 11 contestants competing for the Miss Franklin County Fair Queen crown. Each contestant must give a brief speech on why people ought to attend the fair and answer a question that will be posed by the master of ceremonies, she said.

Fair Secretary Gerald W. Reichard said the number of contestants for the crowns is up this year. Another 18 have signed up for Wednesday's talent contest, he said.

Today, clubs, organizations and families will bring in exhibits ranging from livestock and produce to baked goods and crafts. A number of exhibitors will stay the week, tending to the needs of the animals they have raised in hopes of winning a blue ribbon.

Each night in the arena, there will be competitions beginning with the horse pull tonight, followed by Tuesday's Skid Steer Operators Rodeo, a tractor and truck pull Wednesday and Friday, and Thursday's Youth Barnyard Olympics.

Saturday night in the arena, aging automobiles will be battering each other in an event sponsored by J&J Demolition Derbies. For a contest in which the goal is for all but one vehicle to be reduced to a smoking, motionless pile of junk, there is a set of 38 rules with which drivers and vehicles must comply, including the removal of airbags. Helmets and restraints are required, however.

About 100 volunteers have been working the past week to get the fairgrounds ready, Fair President Robert Eckstine said.

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