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Scenes from the 2008 Washington County Ag Expo and Fair

July 24, 2008|By JOSH SHAW

Kristen Toms, Williamsport

With the rain forcing people to seek shelter, Kristen Toms sat in the bleachers of the main show ring, camera in hand, watching her two nephews and other members of the Livestock Beef Club play football Wednesday at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

Toms has spent her whole week at the Ag Expo supporting her family, and like the few other people who braved the weather, was trying to kill some time before her nephews, Matt and Ryan Burcker, showed in the sheep exhibit at 6 p.m. They participated Wednesday morning in the heifer show.

Toms said she arrived Wednesday around 8 a.m. and would not leave until around 11 p.m.

"It is great for the kids," she said. "They work hard all year. We need to have this week for them."

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Toms said her family is very supportive of each other and she hopes that her 4-year-old daughter will be able to show animals next year.

"She got a little upset because she didn't want the animals to go," Toms said about her daughter. "We have more (baby animals) at home, so hopefully that will make it easier."

Shawna, Kaitlyn and Erin Corbett, Downsville

While the majority of the contestants had not yet showed up, the Corbett family was hard at work preparing its sheep for Wednesday night's Market Lamb Show at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

While Kaitlyn, 15, and her mother, Shawna, finished sheering one of the 17 sheep they brought, Erin, 11, trimmed the hooves.

After the sheep are sheered, they are fitted with sweaters to keep them clean and to keep their skin tight. The market lamb show is all about the appearance of the sheep since they will be sold for meat, so judges look for a long loin and big legs, Shawna said.

Her daughters already had participated in the sheep showmanship rounds, winning all three of them.

"Showmanship is nice because it evens out the playing field," Shawna said. "They work really hard to be successful. During the birthing they were right there with me every four hours delivering lambs."

In January, Shawna took over the 4-H Lamb Club and hopes to get more community interest in sheep.

The Corbetts own around 70 sheep and also show dairy cattle and dairy steer.

Tessa and Macayla Wiles, Hagerstown

Despite the thunderstorms Tuesday night, the Wiles family maintained its tradition of camping out every night of the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

Tessa, 14, gets to sleep on the portable bed right next to the family's cows, while her sister Macayla, 13, claims the swinging chair, but neither of them get much sleep. Not that they mind.

"It's pretty fun," Tessa said. "It gets cold, though."

At one point early Wednesday, the thunderstorms were so bad the family went inside its car to stay dry, said Tessa, who woke up Wednesday around 5:30 a.m.

To pass the time during the day, the girls and their friends "play cards, talk and sleep," but also do a lot of work preparing for the shows, Tessa said.

Courtney and Carly Shaw, Fairplay

Carly Shaw, 12, is spending her nights during the week of the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center, joining the six cows she brought with her.

She has been showing cows for four years and has had a successful showing so far this year, taking home multiple ribbons, including one for being the Junior Champion of the 4-H show for dairy cows.

Courtney, 16, was keeping her sister company Wednesday afternoon, but stopped participating in the exhibits a couple of years ago.

"I like the social part of it more than the work," Courtney said. "You get to see friends you don't see often and you can just relax and have fun."

Despite not showing any animals this year, Courtney said she helps her sister take care of the cows and prepare them for the shows.

If you go



What: Washington County Ag Expo & Fair

When: Through today

Where: Washington County Agricultural Educational Center, Sharpsburg Pike (Md. 65), south of Hagerstown

Today's highlights: Weigh 4-H/FFA Market Sale Animals, 9 a.m.; Open-Class Dairy Cattle Show, 10 a.m.; 4-H/FFA Horseless Activity, 10 a.m.; 4-H/FFA Dog Show, 4 p.m.; FAME NASCAR Racing, 5 p.m.; 4-H/FFA Market Animal Sale, 6 p.m.; "Mangled Metal" Demolition Derby, 7:30 p.m.; FAME NASCAR Racing, Grand Champion, 8 p.m.

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