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Longhorns make history at farm show

January 12, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Monday marked the final day of the Pennsylvania Farm Show for many Franklin County exhibitors, as they took their cattle home to make room for the horses and other animals dominating the second half of the weeklong spectacle in the state's capital.

Pat Sutton, of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., said she might return later as a spectator, free from the pressures of "making history." She recently joined about 16 other exhibitors in competing with longhorn cattle for the first time in the farm show's 93 years.

"There's been so many people taking pictures of them," she said.

Farm show Director Pat Kerwin highlighted the longhorn cattle, oxen demonstration and agricultural magic show when talking about new events for 2009. Attendance has been down slightly, he said, but organizers still expect they will have hosted about 400,000 people before the show concludes Saturday.

"You can learn about where your food comes from. Pennsylvania agriculture represents such a broad spread," Kerwin said, explaining that the state is a national leader in production of things like eggs, dairy products, corn and soybeans.

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Kerwin said the show appeals to families because it entertains all ages without charging admission.

"It's multigenerational. I can remember coming here with my parents when I was a child," he said.

Lindsay Upperman, of Chambersburg, Pa., has been participating in the farm show since age 8. She's now a sophomore at James Buchanan High School.

"My sister did pretty good with her heifer. She got first," Lindsay said.

Also, their cow/calf won reserve grand champion and the 1,200-pound steer took fourth place.

"Tomorrow we're going to sell the steer and then go," Lindsay said Monday afternoon.

Two of Randy and Pat Sutton's cattle won all-age classes. The couple has raised longhorn cattle for 12 years, starting with the purchase of Sagebrush and Tumbleweed because of a longtime fascination with the West.

"There's no two alike. You're always seeing different colors and patterns," Pat Sutton said.

Visitors to the holding stalls often remarked about the halter-broken, docile longhorn cattle, with one woman asking Randy Sutton if they're sedated. Horns can reach eight feet long.

"They're a beef breed, and I think they're a novelty. I don't think people realize they're a docile breed," Pat Sutton said.

Judges were looking for confirmation, horns and color in the longhorn cattle.

"Hopefully we'll have them back next year," Pat Sutton said.

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