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Washington County Ag Expo & Fair vignettes

July 24, 2012
  • Washington County Ag Expo & Fair vignettes
Photos by MyLinh Hoang

Early mornings and long days are nothing new to Shane Heizer, 16, of Hagerstown, whose family raises cattle.
Cattle need as much attention as humans do, Shane said Tuesday at the Ag Expo grounds.
Heizer said he gets up super early to tend to them and he has to get the animals ready for shows.
“We go to a lot of shows, so we’re constantly working with them,” he said.
Heizer said his love for raising animals came from his family.
“My dad is a veterinarian, so I grew up around cattle all my life,” Heizer said.
Heizer said he has learned a lot by being involved in 4-H and participating in Ag Expo.
“I like seeing all of my hard work pay off in the ring,” Heizer said. “That’s the biggest thing for me.”
“You learn a lot,” he said. “No matter if you don’t like it this day or not. Keep with it and that just shows responsibility, and it teaches you a lot of great skills.”

Taylor Gigeous of Boonsboro said Tuesday she enjoys spending time raising six lambs.
In 2010, Gigeous was named Ag Expo princess. Now she’s 18 years old and it is her fourth and last year as a 4-H member and Ag Expo participant.
Being Ag Expo princess carries with it a lot of responsibility.
“I came to all the events, took pictures, handed out ribbons, gave announcements and went to tractor pulls,” Gigeous said.
She also was involved with the Washington County Farm Bureau.
Gigeous said her other commitments did not stop her from her 4-H duties.
“4-H taught me a lot of responsibility to take care of my animals,” she said.
“I have worked with sheep, pigs and I also have a horse,” Gigeous said.
Gigeous said raising six lambs requires a lot more time.
“I go out and feed them in the morning,” she said. “I put the lambs in the field ... so they can play and run around.”
It has been a great experience, Gigeous said.
“Animals are fun,” she said. “They are a lot to take care of, but it is worth it.”

Katelyn Toms, 8, of Williamsport, has some advice for any kid who is interested in participating in the Ag Expo.
“It’s really fun and it doesn’t matter how you do as long as you have fun,”  Katelyn said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
This is her first year in 4-H and she has already been awarded junior champion showman this year.
“The judge said that my hog caught his eye, so he really liked my hog and he said I did good,” Katelyn said.
Doing so well made her feel good, she said.
“It’s actually a lot of work, but you just need to know how to take care of an animal because they need special care,” Katelyn said. 
She said her favorite animals with which to work are hogs and lambs.
So far, it has been a really good experience, she said.
“I am showing Cici tomorrow,” she said. “I was nervous, but now that I’ve shown my hogs. I know how easy it really is. I’m not nervous.”
Katelyn will be in fourth grade at Fountain Rock Elementary School.

Who would have thought swine would be a neat animal with which to work?
Katrina Smith, 17, of Clear Spring, said Tuesday she started in 4-H nine years ago and worked with swine because her brother worked with them and she liked helping him.
“I thought it was a neat animal to work with and it was really easy,” she said.
Smith said they are easy to work with because they have a self-feeder and they self-water.
She has worked with a range of animals from pigs and goats to dairy cows and rabbits.
“I showed dairy cows in pre-4-H when I was 8 years old,” she said. “It was quite a challenge when I was little.”
Smith said it was also difficult to work with goats and dairy steers.
“Ever since I was little, I thought it would be neat to show goats because my grandpa always wanted me to,” she said.
She said being with animals and friends has been a really memorable experience for her.
“I grew up around them since I was little,” Smith said. “I like the personality and being around animals.”

A dog might be a man’s best friend, but for Rose Froelich, 15, of Boonsboro, goats are her companions.
Rose, who raises eight female goats, said Tuesday her favorite thing about 4-H and Ag Expo is showing different animals.
“It takes me about two hours in the morning to feed and milk them,” she said of her goats.
People told Froelich that goats are more friendly when you bottle-feed them. She took that advice and has bottle-fed two dairy goats.
“If you bottle-feed goats, they’ll be like a dog to you,” Froelich said. “One of my baby goats jumped the fence just to be with me.”
Taking care of goats can be time-consuming.
“I have to clip the whole body of the goat except the tail,” she said. “The tail looks like a paintbrush because that’s what they want.”
She said it takes about up to 2 hours to shave a baby goat, 2 to 3 hours for a yearling and 3 to 4 hours for an older goat.
Froelich has other animals at home in her family’s 7-acre farm, including llamas and chickens.

Treat animals with love and they will respond accordingly. At least that works for AJ Stotelymer, 10, of Middletown, who said Tuesday he believes in making his goat, Oreo, happy.
Stotelymer said some people bring their animals to Ag Expo, set them up and then leave to hang out with their friends.
“I’ve seen people leave their animals and not spend time with them,” he said. “I spend as much time with Oreo as I can.”
Stotelymer explained that sometimes Oreo comes up to him and rubs against him. He said Oreo likes eating people’s shirts and loves being around people once he gets to know them. 
“Sometimes I just sit there and Oreo comes right up to me.”
Taking care of Oreo has taught Stotelymer to be responsible.
“I know Oreo is happy when I feed him and give him water,” he said.
Stotelymer showed Oreo this week and won two awards.
“I got fifth place for the actual goat and seventh place for the showmanship, which is how he walks and how I can control him,” Stotelymer said.
His first year in 4-H has been fun and eventually, he said, he wants to work with pigs and steers.

— MyLinh Hoang

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