4-H contenders get set for annual fair opening

Parkton sisters busy grooming cows, baking cakes

July 13, 2006|By KRISTI FUNDERBURK | KRISTI FUNDERBURK,SUN REPORTER

The 13 cows - brown, black, white and spotted - were lying in a bed of hay in the section marked "Dairy," where Renee Wilson and her sister Hailey had tied them to a metal bar.

Renee, 12, and Hailey, 10, had placed their prized cows inside a makeshift fence after spending several hours washing and grooming the bovine entries.

The sisters from Parkton were used to the refined routine. They have been working for a month preparing the animals for the 42nd annual Baltimore County 4-H Fair, which begins today and continues through Sunday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

They said the most important tasks lie ahead.

"This was exciting," Renee said yesterday, "but tomorrow's going to be stressful" because that's when the judging starts.

Beside showing their animals, the sisters have entries in multiple categories, including cake baking.

Renee had to temporarily stop work on the animals to go to her grandmother's house yesterday afternoon to bake two cakes. Hailey had finished her baking that morning: one pound cake and one chocolate cake.

Both sisters prefer working with the animals, even though it entails a lot more work getting them ready for show.

The two, who have been 4-H club members since each was 5 years old, said appearance means a lot to the judges.

The sisters might have a slight edge in some of the competitions because they have entered 18 of the 28 cows registered at the fair.

Renee said having the majority of the animals only happens at the county fair.

"Some fairs are more competitive than others," she said.

"So no matter what, we should get a ribbon because a lot of our calves go in a lot of the classes," Hailey said.

Despite believing they have an advantage in some of the categories, the sisters have been spending much of their summer vacation leading, training, bathing and trimming the 18 animals they registered for the fair.

Renee and Hailey, both students at the St. James Academy in Monkton, have been working in what the family calls the Bovine Beauty Boutique, a tall wooden shed-like structure that the girls' father, Steve, built to keep them out of the sun while caring for the animals.

Yesterday morning, the girls had last-minute trimming to do before the cows were loaded into a truck and taken from the Wilsons' farm in Parkton to the Cow Palace at the fairgrounds.

The dairy and beef cattle from the Wilsons' farm will compete today, and the family's horses will be judged Saturday.

Ann Price, president of the Baltimore County 4-H Club Fair Association, said the Wilson girls have always been encouraged to do their best.

"Those girls just had that instilled from their parents and aunts and uncles, and their grandparents' encouragement to try everything," Price said. "They were more apt to do it."

The girls' mother, Kelly Wilson, said her daughters have an advantage because they have grown up on the farm.

"They walk out the door and they're there," Kelly Wilson said. "We have an advantage in the sense that the animals are here."

Kelly Wilson said she enjoys the opportunities for trips and scholarships that her daughters get from being part of 4-H but that the fair is something the girls really love.

"The county fair's really safe," she said. "And it's very kid-friendly."

Hailey said she enjoys winning money at some of the events, but Renee is enticed by the animals.

"I love it because you get to be around animals," Renee said, "and I love animals."

kristi.funderburk@baltsun.com

The 4-H fair will be held at the fairgrounds, 2200 York Road in Timonium. It will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today, tomorrow and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

4-H schedule

THURSDAY

Food exhibits received 9-11:30 a.m.

Dog show 9:30 a.m.

Indoor exhibits opened to public 10 a.m.

Puppetone Rockers! 11 a.m., 1 and 5 p.m.

Cat cages decorated and in place 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Dairy steer show 12:30 p.m.

Beef steer and heifer show 1:30 p.m.

Shepherd's lead contest (Swine Show Ring) 2 p.m.

Dairy goat show 3 p.m.

English halter class 4 p.m.

Miss Farm Bureau and ambassador contests 4:30 p.m.

Cat cage decoration contest 6 p.m.

Picnic supper 6 p.m.

Cake auction 7 p.m.

FRIDAY

English horse show 8 a.m.

Market lamb and breeding show 8:30 a.m.

Dairy judging 9:30 a.m.

Indoor exhibits opened to public 10 a.m.

Puppetone Rockers! 11 a.m., 1 and 5 p.m.

Swine show 1:30 p.m.

Basket bingo 7 p.m.

Dirty cattle contest 7 p.m.

English horse show grooming/showmanship 7:30 p.m.

Teen entertainment DJ 8-10 p.m.

SATURDAY

Cavy exhibits received and in place 8:30 a.m.

Western horse show 8 a.m.

Alpaca show (Sheep Show Ring) 8:30 a.m.

Cat exhibits in place 9 a.m.

Rabbit/cavy show followed by rabbit judging 9 a.m.

Indoor exhibits opened to the public 10 a.m.

Dairy show / cat show 10 a.m.

Puppetone Rockers! 11a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.

Automotive contest 11 a.m.

Herdsman contest Noon

Fashion revue rehearsal 2 p.m.

Small engines and garden tractor contest 2 p.m.

Livestock buyers reception 6-6:45 p.m.

Livestock sale 7 p.m.

Entertainment - country line dancing 8-11:30 p.m.

SUNDAY

Pancake breakfast 8-10 a.m.

Wool and wool breed sheep show 8:30 a.m.

Indoor exhibits opened to the public 10 a.m.

Bicycle contest 10 a.m.

Homemade ice cream contest 10 a.m.

Alpaca demonstration (Cow Palace) 10 a.m.

Animal costume contest 11 a.m.

Award ceremony Noon

Clover pet show (Dog Show Ring) 1 p.m.

Fashion revue, Cow Palace, 2 p.m.

Exhibits released 4-5 p.m.

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