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School milks FFA week

February 25, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

BOONSBORO -- Dozens of Boonsboro High School students gathered behind the tennis courts Wednesday afternoon to cheer and heckle at the showdown of a lifetime -- assistant principal Garth Fazio versus athletic director Mark Wadel -- milking a cow.

"C'mon, Bessie!" Fazio yelled as he pumped the udders with both hands, ultimately besting Wadel by filling a quarter cup in one minute.

Their milking matchup was one of four hosted at the school Wednesday by the Boonsboro High School FFA as part of a weeklong celebration of National FFA week.

"The FFA week is basically just to show our pride for our organization and let people know that we're out there," said senior Whitney Furr, 18, the chapter's president.

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The agricultural education club held a blue and gold day Monday and a teacher appreciation breakfast Tuesday. Members plan to read agriculture-related books to elementary school students today and drive their tractors to school for judging on Friday.

The milking contest was a new addition to the FFA week festivities this year, Furr said.

"We tried to do something new and make it more exciting this year," she said.

Two cows from DeBaugh Farms visited the high school Wednesday for the milking contest, but one, Corker, was taken out of commission after she walked away mid-milking. After that, pairs faced off on either side of the other cow, Star. The milker with the most in the bucket at the end of one minute won, but the audience granted plenty of applause points for style.

The first match paired FFA member Donnie Mitchell, 15, against science teacher Rose Ulrich. They tied.

Next, Wadel milked against world history teacher Brad Delauter, a match with spirited repartee, but unclear results.

When assistant principal Scott Noll faced health teacher Ben Leonard, neither produced enough milk to measure.

"It was empty," Leonard protested. "I think it was all milked out."

That was when Fazio appeared in his dress shirt and tie and wowed the crowd with his two-handed technique.

"Raw!" he shouted, pumping his fists, when he was declared the winner. "Raw milk!"

Organizers said they were impressed with the participants, most of whom never had milked a cow before.

"We weren't expecting them to get the hang of it so quickly," Furr said.

FFA members gave a short milking lesson before the contest began, but some contestants said they studied up ahead of time.

"I asked some people in the school, some students and some faculty, got a few hints here and there," Ulrich said.

FFA member Scott DeBaugh, 15, who supplied the cows from his grandfather's farm, said the participants had the milking technique correct, but might have been able to catch more milk with one simple tip.

"I hold the bucket closer," he said. "They were leaving it on the ground."

Furr and junior adviser Erin Canfield, 17, said they will be graduating this year, but hope future FFA members make the milking contest an annual tradition.

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