Ag Expo a petting zoo for some visitors

July 24, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

SHARPSBURG - For some of its youngest visitors, the Washington County Ag Expo was more like a trip to a petting zoo.

Raven Morningstar, 12, of Sharpsburg, her sister and two friends spent Sunday afternoon petting animals.

"Come pet this one," she said. "He's real sweet."

There were other larger, more active rabbits, but Raven said her favorite was the brown rabbit that stayed still when she pet him.

Raven and Rachel Morningstar, 13, Michael Selby, 6, of Funkstown, and Anna Blevins, 6, of Sharpsburg, said they enjoyed petting all of the animals, including sheep and cows.

The rabbits, though, were their favorites.

"They're soft, cute and cuddly," Raven said.

Clean-cut steers

Rachel Martin, 14, of Smithsburg, had just started clipping her dairy steer Sunday afternoon. She was getting it ready for the show.


Rachel shaved the animal's hair, starting with the tail.

"It looks nicer," she said.

This is Rachel's fourth Washington County Ag Expo, but the second time she's been at the event with the same steer. She said last year she showed the animal, and this year she will show it and sell it.

Rachel also has two hogs at the Ag Expo.

She said the steer doesn't like to be clipped at first, but once she gets started, the animal gets used to it.

Besides clipping the steer, Rachel said she'll also wash the animal before the show.

"I'll wash him so he looks clean," she said.

Taking a break

Steve Stoi, 15, of Sharpsburg, was taking a break in the shade Sunday at the Washington County Ag Expo.

He has beef steers and heifers that will compete in shows this week, but Sunday he was there to talk with friends and observe. Steve said this is his sixth Ag Expo.

He said he won a competition in June for his beef steers and is hoping to do well this week, too. Steve said he believes his steers are a bit better than others he has had because of the new hair products he's been using on them.

"I've been using different hair products on them," he said. "I've got them a new conditioner that I'm using on them. That's why I think they're looking better than other years."

Steve said he's also been working them harder than he has in past years.

"Every morning, I work them out," he said.

Steve said he's also been brushing the steers' hair to train it to go a certain way. He said that makes them more attractive for the show.

"(Before the show) I'll wash them and give them haircuts," he said.

Cooling off

Colton Rhoderick, 12, of Hagerstown, pointed a small spray bottle at about four dairy steers Sunday. Every few seconds, he pointed the bottle at a different animal and sprayed it with a small burst of water.

"I don't know if it helps," Colton said. "I thought it might help, hot as it is."

His family has five dairy steers at the Washington County Ag Expo, he said. He'll be showing two of them.

Colton said the steers didn't appear to like or dislike the water he was spraying them with.

"I'd like it if I was a cow," he said.

When he isn't keeping the cows cool, he said he has been having a lot of fun and especially liked the demolition derby and the tractor pull he saw Saturday.

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