Ag Expo is a family affair

July 20, 2010
  • Brittany Bowman

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Brittany Bowman, 20, might be too old for the 4-H club, but she has an 11-year history at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

This year, Bowman, of Boonsboro, said she is here to lend a hand.

"I have to help my sister with her cows," she said.

She said her sister would be showing four cows during Ag Expo.

Bowman said her family has about 40 cattle.

Bowman said she enjoys the social part of the annual event.

"I enjoy spending time with my friends and family and the cows," she said.

Bowman attends Hagerstown Community College and plans to get a degree in nursing.

Even though Bowman's choice of study doesn't pertain to agriculture, she said that someday she would like to own a farm of her own.


It's been four or five years since Brooks Long of Williamsport last showed cows of his own, but he is looking forward to three or four years from now when his son, 4, and daughter, 2, will be old enough to join the 4-H club and show cows.

Until then, Long said he is a helper at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair.

Long is a seventh-generation farmer and his wife was from a farm family, so his children will be raised in the lifestyle, he said.

His son likes animals, he said, but his daughter is a little leery of them.

"Well, my daughter gets a little scared, but she likes the pigs," he said.

Long said he has been attending Ag Expo for many years. His older brother and sister used to show cows, he said, so he did the same.

Long owns a dairy farm and said he is managing to spend long hours at Ag Expo and tend to his farm.

"I usually leave around 11 (p.m.)," Long said. "I go home to milk the cows and come back."

Long said he plans to be at Ag Expo all week.

"It's a long week." he said. "When I was little, it was too short."

Because she has attended the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair for as long as she can remember, Angela Koontz had to ask her mother how many years she had been attending the annual event.

Koontz's first memories of the Ag Expo date to when it was known as The Great Hagerstown Fair at the Hagerstown Speedway.

When Koontz was younger, she said she was a 4-H club member, but now she helps the organization. Koontz said she used to raise goats and rabbits. Now, her daughters show rabbits at Ag Expo.

Koontz said her favorite part of Ag Expo is watching the children grow.

"Since I've been around so long, you see them when they're children and watch them get old enough to join the 4-H club," she said. "Then, they get married and their kids join 4-H."

As for Koontz's daughters, their favorite part is watching the pig races.

The Washington County Ag Expo & Fair is something 17-year-old Amanda Shumaker of Keedysville has attended for most of her life.

"I started coming probably when I was 3," Shumaker said.

Even though Shumaker owns a horse, she said she likes cows. She said she was at Ag Expo Tuesday to support a friend who was showing a cow.

Shumaker said she is a member of FFA.

Her father is the inspiration behind her love for the farm and animals, she said.

"My dad was raised on a farm and he works on a farm," she said.

Shumaker said she was looking forward to the tractor pull.

Shumaker, who will be a senior in high school in the fall, said she would like to major in agriculture in college.

Although Shumaker does not live on a farm, she said she would love to own one eventually and raise cows, horses and pigs.

Last year was a good year at the Washington County Ag Expo & Fair for 14-year-old Shane Heizer of Hagerstown.

He said he took home Grand Champion Steer, Reserved Champion Heifer and Supreme Heifer awards.

So far this year, he took Champion Lightweight Hog and Reserved Champion for Senior Showmanship in the pig class.

Heizer, a 4-H member, said he got interested in animals because his father is a veterinarian. Like his father, he wants to become a veterinarian.

Heizer currently owns one pig, two steers, two heifers and two lambs.

"He's got his own Noah's ark," said Mary Heizer, Shane's mother.

-- Lucia Tayo

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