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More than 150 gather for 4-H/FFA Dairy Cattle Showmanship

July 23, 2013
  • Mark Schnebly, 34, of Clear Spring helped run the event and announce the winners at the 4-H/FFA Dairy Cattle Showmanship competition on Tuesday morning.
Mark Schnebly, 34, of Clear Spring helped run the event and announce the winners at the 4-H/FFA Dairy Cattle Showmanship competition on Tuesday morning.

More than 150 people gathered for the 4-H/FFA Dairy Cattle Showmanship competition on Tuesday morning, but not all for the same reason.

Mark Schnebly, 34, of Clear Spring was there to help run the event and announce the winners.
Schnebly participated in the 4-H dairy club while growing up and coached the county’s dairy club judging team.

When judge Emily Yeiser judged the cows, following the showmanship judging, Schnebly said: “She’s looking for a cow that looks like she’ll produce the most milk for the longest time.”

That generally translates to good legs, strength and udders, he said.

•••

Eight-year-old Jacob Pereschuk of Sharpsburg sat on the second row of bleachers with his grandfather, Pete DeBaugh of Boonsboro, during the intermediate class competition.

The youngster had already finished competing in the junior category, in which he won fifth place for showing his 4-month-old calf.

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Despite just starting 4-H this year and showing for one of his first times, Jacob said he was not nervous.

He showed two pigs yesterday, too.

•••

Sydney Davis came to compete, and left as the first-place winner in the intermediate category.

The 14-year-old will be a freshman at Smithsburg High School in the fall. Even with her success in the competition, Sydney received some constructive criticism from Yeiser.

“She said to work on making your cow look better — to not stretch her out or scrunch her up,” Sydney said.

She said this is her sixth year in 4-H.

As far as her future plans, Sydney said: “I want to be a marine biologist, but I like doing farm stuff, too.”

She likes animals in general, she said.

•••

Sydney gave Tessa Wiles a run for her money in the final dairy cattle showmanship competition for the title of grand champion overall showman.

Tessa, 18, of Hagerstown took home the title and described the experience as “bittersweet,” because this is her last year in 4-H.

The 2012 Clear Spring High School graduate has shown “pretty much everything” over her 10 years in 4-H, with the exception of dairy goats and rabbits.

“I was raised on a dairy farm,” Tessa said. “My family and I milk 80 registered Holsteins and Jerseys.”

Her jobs are to milk and to take care of the calves, she said.

“They’re kind of like my pets. Some people baby their dogs; I baby my cows,” she said, laughing.

Although they usually milk twice a day — at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. — for dairy judging, Tessa said she milks the night before but not the morning of competition. She wants the cows to look full and capable of producing a lot of milk.

Wiles’ cow milks 75 pounds a day, the 2010 Maryland Dairy Princess said.

Tessa won the state contest in dairy judging and made it to the world expo last year, she said.

She attends Hagerstown Community College for general studies, but Tessa said she doesn’t yet know what she wants to pursue as a career.

•••

The Washington County Ag Expo and Fair, which opened July 20, runs though Saturday. Daily admission is $6 for anyone age 2 and older, and includes unlimited carnival rides but not track events. A weekly pass costs $35 and does not include track events. Gates open at noon.

— Karen Mawdsley

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