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Washington County Ag Expo vignettes

July 27, 2012
  • Ryan Snyder
By MyLinh Hoang

Brittany is very sensitive. She is a young Holstein breed and Ryan Snyder, 9, of Hagerstown, takes great care of her and tends to her sensitivity.

"She gets spooked by a lot of things," Ryan said. "Especially the fan in the show ring at the Ag Expo."

He adds that she is not the calmest heifer.

Snyder said sometimes Brittany is difficult to work with during showmanship.

"Sometimes she won't cooperate with me," he said. "It's hard to get Brittany to put her foot back because sometimes she takes an extra step."

Proper stance is important during showmanship and points can be taken off if animals are not in position.

"I learned that when I'm walking my heifer, I should keep my eyes on the judge," Ryan said.

This is Ryan's second year participating in 4-H and the Ag Expo, and it has been fun so far, he said.

When it came down to showmanship, Ryan has definitely improved.

"I did a lot better this year," he said. "Last year, I didn't do too well because I really didn't know what to do that much."

Snyder definitely got a better handle on cows.

"This year, I got my cows to stand up quicker," he said. "I got more stronger than my cows and I got more confident to walk them."

Teamwork yields success, and the perfect example is the relationship between Hollis Gigeous, 14, of Boonsboro, and her 2-year-old simmental heifer.

"Honestly, I am really proud that I have such a nice heifer for my first year showing," Hollis said. "She's a great heifer and she's well behaved and everything."

Hollis showed her heifer Friday and was awarded Reserve Champion Heifer.

The most rewarding thing for Hollis is watching her cow grow.

"You get to raise it, watch it grow and then participate in showmanship," she said.

Hollis takes great care of her heifer by feeding it, giving it water and providing hay everyday. It is a lot of work many teenagers do not particularly care for, but Hollis enjoys it.

"I work with her every day ... and hold her head up and wash her all the time," Hollis said.

This is her second year in 4-H and Hollis already has her mind set on working with other animals.

"Next year, I want to show swine, sheep and another heifer," she said. "I think  it would be fun to work with swine and sheep."

Sacrifice is something not many teenagers are used to, but for Brianna Stotelmyer, 14, of Middletown, it is all too familiar.

Brianna raises Nytro, a cow. 

"I'm use to hanging out with friends and then I had to turn down a lot of things," Brianna said. "I turn down out-of-town events, holiday vacations and other activities, but I find the sacrifice worth it."

She learned that responsibility is a big thing and there is no such thing as just dropping out.

"Usually, I come home and hang out with friends, but now I have to come home, walk him and take care of him," she said.

This is Brianna's first year in 4-H and participating in the Ag Expo, and she is off to an amazing start.

"There was tough competition," she said. "But, I got fifth place for showmanship and second place for Nytro."

Brianna said it is not just friendship with her cow, Nytro. It is love.

"We have a very close bond and he is a good boy," she said.

Dedication and lots of practice paid off for Maddie Yocklin, 12, of Frederick and her dog, Joey, an English Pointer, 31 months old.

Maddie's advice to Ag Expo participants and competitors is to pratice a lot with your animals so they know what you want them to do and give them a lot of rewards so they know they did well.

This is her fourth year in 4-H and she has plenty of awards to prove her expertise in preparing animals for the Ag Expo. 

"I've won awards for first prize, reserve champion and grand champion," she said.

Maddie's involvement in 4-H has been a great experience for her.

"Every year we learn something new and harder so I get to gain knowledge," she said.

Maddie said she learned about the different patterns Joey had to do.

"I had to practice with him doing patterns like triangles, circles and stuff," she said.

Maddie also had to practice putting the leash on-and-off quick, learn different body parts on animals and then she learned what the judges would ask.

Showmanship is a fun and exciting event for 4-H members of all ages. Bayley Pryor, 9, of Smithsburg, really enjoys showing her goat at the Ag Expo.

Bayley gets nervous, but she just goes with it.

This is her second year in 4-H and her 4-month-old male goat, Comet, has proved to be quite the winner.

"I got first prize for the market of Comet and fourth for showmanship," she said.

Sometimes during her showmanship, Comet causes quite a stir.

"He doesn't really listen whenever I show him," she said. "He doesn't stand still whenever I set him up."

Bayley learned her lesson and said she will practice with Comet more.

When Bayley prepares for showmanship, a lot of work goes into getting Comet ready.

"I prepared by giving Comet baths and working with him," she said. "I have to give him a lot of food and water."

Grand champion, first-prize ribbons, second place and the list of awards continues for Edey McDougal, 9, of Smithsburg.

Edey's family raises many goats and her participation has helped her grow in many ways.

"I like to show goats because it is fun," she said.

Edey said she has to give her goats a lot of baths and also feed them a lot.

"We give them water and feed them twice a day," she said. 

Do not let her petite figure fool you. She is pretty strong.

"Carrying the water buckets is really hard," she said. "It's pretty big and heavy."

She said if you are prepared it is not really a lot of work.

"If you do not know that much stuff about goats, then you would have a little trouble with it," Edey said.

4-H keeps her quite occupied.

"We do a lot of crafts," she said. "We will do activities like sewing and woodwork."

McDougal said she works on the projects for three months, then enters it into the fair.

"4-H is a lot of fun and learning experience about animals," she said.


— MyLinh Hoang

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