4-H contest winner gets dream trip CARROLL COUNTY FARM/BUSINESS

December 17, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Simply say the word Europe, and Marie Speak breaks into an ear-to-ear smile.

As a member of the Maryland 4-H dairy judging team, she will be visiting Britain and several European countries from June 23 to July 7, 1993. The four-member team earned the trip by winning the national competition in Wisconsin in October.

Chip Savage of Frederick County, Kristi Geary of Montgomery County and Mark Iager of Howard County are the other team members.

"Whenever somebody mentions it [the trip], I'm all smiles," said Marie, who is 17. "I never, ever dreamed I would get to go."

The trip, sponsored by the national Future Farmers of America organization and the Young Farmer's Clubs in Europe, will begin with the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the team will represent the United States.

The national 4-H livestock judging team and the FFA dairy and livestock judging teams will also compete.

From there, the groups will travel through Britain and Europe, visiting sites of "agricultural and historical interest," said Lee Majeskie, team coach.

"We're going to see plays and take a lot of tours, and of course there's representing the United States in the international contest," said Marie, a senior at Francis Scott Key High. "We're going to have a lot of fun."

Preparation for the trip is limited to getting a passport and the other things necessary for traveling abroad, Marie said. She said she doubted the team would practice much for the competition, because all the European students judge dairy and livestock animals.

Also, different things are considered important in European animals.

"In Europe, the coaching is very different," she said. "There are so many dual-purpose breeds [animals used for dairy and beef], that an animal we would put on top, they would probably put further down."

But Marie is ready to stand up for what she thinks. Of all the contest parts, she said that oral reasons, or explaining to the judge why she placed the animals in a specific order, are her strongest and favorite part of the contest.

"I've done a lot of public speaking through 4-H, so I'm not afraid to get up and tell the judges exactly what I mean," she said, after giving a quick demonstration of how she'd rank a set of animals.

The group must also raise $4,000 to $4,500 per person for the trip with a variety of fund-raisers, Mr. Majeskie said. For example, Frederick County will have a dance in January and some of the proceeds from the Carroll County Holstein sale will go toward the trip.

"When people sign up an animal to sell, they will say they want all or a certain percentage of the sale to go to the trip," Marie said. "That's a real nice surprise for us."

However, raising the money has never been a problem, and Mr. '' Majeskie does not expect this year to be any different.

"Maryland has done so well [in the contests] that people expect [the fund-raisers]," he said. "They just say if Maryland wins, they will raise the money."

This is the 28th time a Maryland team has won the national competition since it began in 1919, said Mr. Shirley. And, almost every time, a Carroll County resident has been on the team.

Among the high scorers in the national dairy competition were Marlin Hoff in 1959, who now runs a dairy farm in New Windsor, and William Powel in 1954, who is now Carroll's agricultural land preservation program administrator.

"The wonderful part is that all these people stay in Carroll County to help and go on to coach the next teams," he said.

"This knowledge and these skills get recycled year after year. By far and away, dairy is what we are known for."

Marie is an excellent addition to that lineage and an asset to the Carroll County dairy program, Mr. Majeskie said.

"She is a dream to work with," said Mr. Majeskie, adding that her willingness to work hard makes up for any lack of experience she might have.

Her family runs a 100-cow dairy farm in Taneytown, while some other team members come from farms with larger herds.

"She's enthusiastic all the time," he said.

"Whenever you ask her to do something or make a suggestion, she makes the changes necessary. If I had a daughter, I'd want it to be her."

Mr. Majeskie also said that Marie seems more excited than other team members because she never expected to go on the trip.

"She didn't expect to make the state team, and then she made nationals," he said.

"Europe was beyond her wildest dreams."

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