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Ag Expo vignettes

July 22, 2008

If you go



What: Washington County Ag Expo and Fair

Where: Washington County Agricultural Educational Center on Sharpsburg Pike

When: Through Thursday

Today's highlights: 4-H/FFA Horse and Pony Western Show, 9 a.m.; 4-H/FFA Dairy Cattle Show, 10 a.m.; 4-H/FFA Beef Showmanship and Market Steer Show, 5 p.m.; FAME NASCAR Racing, 6:30 and 8 p.m.; Tractor and Truck Pull, 7 p.m.

Admission: $5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today; $10 from 3 p.m. to closing; free for ages 8 and younger. Today is Senior Citizen Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; free admission for ages 65 and older.




Garrett Hamby, 18, and Blake Bandeff, 16, both of Williamsport; and Courtney Gunther, 19, of Columbia, Md.

Since Garrett Hamby is 18, this is the last year he will be able to show his animals at the Washington County Ag Expo, but he hopes to go out on top.

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He got off to a good start Monday, taking home the grand championship for overall showmanship for his market hog and the top prize for hog pairs, teaming up with his girlfriend, Courtney Gunther.

Gunther, who has never competed before, was champion of the senior showmanship competition and the reserve champion for the county raised or bred hog exhibit.

Hamby, who has been showing animals for 11 years, said this has been his best year, since he won championships in the spring show, as well. He said he is going to miss showing animals but will find a way to stay involved.

"I'll miss it. I've been doing it since I was 6," he said. "I'll help Blake out and my other little cousins."

Blake Bandeff is Hamby's cousin and showed for his fourth time. He took home ribbons for reserve grand champion for overall showmanship, second only to his cousin, and won the grand championship for county raised or bred hogs.

The trio's hogs were born at the end of January and were raised during the year. Hamby said he expects the hogs to earn a little more money at the animal sale on Thursday because of their awards.

"That's how it traditionally works," he said. "The winners usually get a couple dollars more per pound."




Stefany Frey, 17, of Hagerstown

Stefany Frey's first opportunity to show an animal at Ag Expo almost ended before she showed up.

Frey got her dairy steer, Donkey, after he was born in October from her uncle. She bottle-fed him and then grain fed him but one day, she came out and Donkey "was not doing so good." Frey said she thought he might die.

However, Donkey recovered quickly and Frey was able to show him during Monday's medium lightweight dairy steer competition.

"I always wanted to do it and my dad finally let me show," she said.

Frey said she was not sure if her 519-pound steer would win but that did not matter to her.

"I'm not going to cry if I lose. It is just for fun," she said.




Danny Morkved, 11, and Josh Bloyer, 11, both of Smithsburg

Neighbors and best friends, Danny Morkved and Josh Bloyer decided to show animals for the first time together and both got off to great starts.

Showing his dairy steer, Willie, Morkved got second place in his first competition while Bloyer and his steer, Buddy, got third place. Both boys said they were a little nervous but had fun.

"They have more fun at home raising the animals," said Bloyer's dad, Gary Bloyer.

After the exhibits are over, the boys will take their steer home for another year. They plan to show them again next year and then sell them. Weighing 250 to 310 pounds, the two steer could grow to be as big as 1,400 pounds by next year, Gary Bloyer said.




Cody Jones, 19, of Hagerstown

Cody Jones spent Monday at Ag Expo handing out snow cones to fairgoers looking for a way to cool off, but claims to have not eaten one himself for three years.

"After awhile, they all start to taste the same," he said.

Jones used to participate as a member of the 4-H club and continues to come back to support the organization that gave so much to him.

"As much as 4-H did for me through the experience and scholarships, this is an easy way to give back," he said.

In addition to working the snow cone stand, Jones showed his support by buying cakes from the cake walk last Friday, and hopes to purchase a lamb and some rabbits during the animal sale on Thursday.

Jones, who used to show rabbits, also will watch his younger sister, who planned to exhibit rabbits, goats and lambs this year.

- Compiled by Josh Shaw

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