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Participants like Ag Expo for different reasons

July 20, 2009

Cody Jones, 20, Hagerstown

Former 4-H member Cody Jones enjoys selling shaved ice at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair. Jones, who owns Cody's Hawaiian Shaved Ice stand, said he appreciates the opportunity to share his product with others.

"I just wanted to share something that I love," Jones said.

Jones has attended Ag Expo for years and became involved in the business after helping the previous owners of the stand.

He was 8 years old when he began helping. About three years later, he was offered the opportunity to buy it.

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"I used to love coming to the Ag Expo because it was one of the places that I knew had shaved ice," Jones said.

Jones said the turnout so far has been good. The demolition derby, praise and worship service, and bull rodeo brought in a lot of business for him.

"I had a lot of 4-H regulars," Jones said of his customers.

He said he is looking forward to the animal sale and the cake auction later in the week.

"It's nice to have fresh meat, and it's good quality because the kids take pride in their animals," Jones said.

John Pat, Clear Spring, booth owner

With screaming children pointing at water guns and inflatables, John Pat said there is no question why he comes to Ag Expo every year.

"We like children and the excitement of the children seeing the animals," Pat said.

He has been selling toys and ballons from his table at Ag Expo for the past nine years. Business has been much slower lately but he still comes out for the atmosphere, he said.

"When they see our blow-up animals and our stand, the kids get excited," Pat said.

He said he believes the economy is the cause for the decline in business because parents cannot afford to spend extra money at stands like his at Ag Expo.

"Everybody's business is suffering," Pat said.

Kelli Davis, Smithsburg, parent

"It's a busy day with animals," Kelli Davis said as she cleaned her daughter's steer's stall while the girl attended a guinea pig show.

Davis was proud of her daughter Sydney's efforts with her entries at this year's Ag Expo.

"It's nice to see them succeed in the competition," Davis said.

Sydney won awards in the baked goods competition for her champion nut cake and grand champion peanut butter fudge.

"She does well and enjoys it," Davis said.

She said the rain has not affected their steer or their moods.

"The rain's been good," she said. "We'll wash them in the rain," Davis said with a laugh.

Davis and her daughter will be participating in the dairy steer show through Wednesday.

"I just want her to have fun," Davis said.

Kiley Slimmer, 13, Hagerstown

"My steer show is tomorrow so we'll take them to the ring and let them chill out later on," Kiley Slimmer said while on break from tending to her steer. Slimmer has steer and pigs entered in various contests at the Ag Expo this year.

Slimmer's pigs debuted at the swine show Monday, and she said it takes a lot of work to keep up with her animals.

"I had to wash them, feed them twice a day, and with my steers I have to work with their hair," Slimmer said.

The rain has not bothered Slimmer with her preparations for her animals.

"Since they have nets up around the stalls, the rain hasn't blown in," she said.

She said everything is going well and she is happy so far.

"Everyone showed up and everyone helped everybody," Slimmer said of the other exhibitors.

Preston Toms, 15, Boonsboro, Md.

Preston Toms is selling rabbits for the first time at this year's Ag Expo. As a 4-H member, Toms is no stranger to the Ag Expo. He said he decided this year to see how well he could sell rabbits along with pigs, which is his usual entry.

"My friend told me about it and got me to try it," Toms said.

Toms has had his rabbits for two months, and said he still favors pigs.

"I'm not as excited about rabbits as much as pigs," he said.

Toms said the expo has been OK so far, and all he does is come in and feed his animals.

"You just come and show and buy," Toms said.

He said he isn't sure if he will sell rabbits again or if he will make a profit.

-- Ashley Reid

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