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Young presenters take Washington County Ag Expo animal sale in stride

July 25, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- After months of feeding, grooming and walking and seven long, hot days spent together in stables, the time had come to say goodbye.

Thursday night was the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair's annual 4-H and FFA Market Animal Sale, the day when dozens of young people present the goats, pigs, cows, rabbits and other animals they have raised for sale to the highest bidder - and the price is by the pound.

"They'll be sold for meat tomorrow or the next day," said Brittany Bowman, 18, of Boonsboro, whose market animals included the Expo's Reserve Grand Champion steer.

"It still bothers me a little bit, but you get used to it," said Bowman, who has been selling cows for about seven years.

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Megan Thompson, 19, of Sharpsburg, said 4-H and FFA members know better than to get too attached to their animals.

"It's not like you're expecting something else," she said.

Even the market's younger sellers didn't seem fazed by the probable fate of their animals.

Justin Martin, 10, of Smithsburg, said he felt "fine" about sending his pigs home with their buyers.

Martin said he began showing pigs about three years ago because his brother and father do it. He directed his pig around the ring with ease despite the fact that it was several times his size.

"The trick is to make sure your pig keeps its head up," Justin said. "It looks better when its head's up."

Not all of the sellers ended up having to part with their animals for good.

Some, like 11-year-old Rachael Roberts of Hagerstown, were lucky enough to have their animal's buyers donate them back to the seller.

Roberts said she had gotten attached to her goat after working with him for two weeks.

"I'm happy," she said.

The highest-priced animal sold was a 1,139-pound beef steer sold by Karlie Hose, 17, of Clear Spring, which sold to Gruber-Lattmer Restoration for $4,556.

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