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Exhibitors say goodbye to animals

August 07, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- When asked what he planned to do with the money he made from selling his hog, Dixie, at the Berkeley County Youth Fair Friday night, 9-year-old Seth DeHaven's answer made his dad happy.

"Keep it, maybe for a car ... or education," said Seth, who later revealed that he wanted to be a game warden.

The Back Creek Valley, W.Va., boy's sister, Cheyenne, 11, said she was planning to save the money from selling her hog, Pixie, for college.

She wants to become a nurse, she said.

The youngsters' Yorkshire Cross hogs were among 77 market hogs slated to be auctioned Friday night along with goats, beef and lambs.

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Cassidy Spessert of Bunker Hill, W.Va., admitted she was going to miss "Milan," her Angus-Maine Cross steer, all 1,293 pounds of him.

"Every steer will hit you and affect you differently," Cassidy said of the emotional attachment with the beef cattle she has exhibited at the fair. "They're not replaced. You do remember them."

Now in her fourth year of showing steers, the 13-year old said she believes the emotional attachment to steers is greater than hogs because of the amount of daily attention the cattle need, not just with feeding and washing, but "just getting to know him."

Her efforts landed her a reserve champion ribbon for showmanship and the nearly all-black steer finished third in its class.

Cassidy said she planned to put the money from the livestock sale toward the purchase of an even better steer, possibly from a big cattle operation out West, for next year.

While her steer seemed to respond to her lead to a blow-drying stall in the barn Friday, Cassidy said if Milan wants to do something, he will drag you along.

While enthusiastic about showing animals, Cassidy said she wants to become an orthodontist.

Mckenzie Pennington, 12, of Glengary, W.Va., said she didn't want to part with Kodiak, her 16-month-old grand champion market steer.

"Not really, but I'm OK," said Mckenzie, who also won the grand champion showmanship ribbon in the fair's beef show Wednesday.

Like Cassidy, Mckenzie said she planned to get another steer with the money from the sale.

In her second year of showing goats, Kelsie Greenfield said she would be sad about saying goodbye to her black-and-white Boer goat, who she named "The Rock."

The 12-year-old Martinsburg girl said she chose the animal to show at the fair because they are "fun to work with and they chase you all over the place."

"The Rock," named after the WWE wrestling star, was one in a set of triplets that her father, Calvin, said were born the night of President Obama's inauguration.

The original owner had named each of the goats after the president's first, middle and last names, but Kelsie's father said he didn't think "Obama" would be an appropriate name to keep, especially for the fair.

Steve Linton, whose family has been showing animals at the fair for about 50 years, said the livestock sale has helped a lot of young people pay for college and buy other animals over the years.

"The support of the community, the buyers, has been phenomenal," Linton said as the sound of an auctioneer in the show arena drifted through the livestock barns.

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