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Fair day camp: Kids learn about livestock, showing animals

Evan McCall, 4, of Stephenson, looks over his Jersey calf Catniss while exhibiting it in the show ring during the bucket contest at the Frederick County Fair this week. The event gives youngsters who are too young to compete at the 4-H level an opportunity to experience the show ring. Rich Cooley/Daily

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Rachel Clark, 13, holds up a lamb at the Frederick County Fairgrounds. Rachel helped deliver a presentation on caring for lambs to day campers on Wednesday. Ryan Cornell/Daily

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By Ryan Cornell

CLEAR BROOK -- For the past three summers, children enrolled in the Frederick County Fair's day camp program have learned about raising livestock and show animals.

But when only two kids had registered by Monday night, organizers of the program, like Cooperative Extension Agent Mandy Simons, decided to cancel the weeklong day camp.

The next morning, droves of kids showed up to the county fairgrounds, interested in attending the camp and ready to learn about raising steers and heifers.

"Which was fine," Simons said, "but it's not quite as organized as it usually is."

The day camp runs from Tuesday to Friday, with days dedicated to learning more about cattle, swine and horses.

On Wednesday, Evan Lineweaver, 15, and Rachel Clark, 13, gave a presentation to campers on how to raise and care for lambs, including shearing, exercising and bracing the animals.

Rachel, from Winchester, said it's her fifth year showing animals at the county fair and the first time she's done a presentation for the day camp.

"[Camp Organizer Marietta Walls] called me and she said, 'Hey, you're doing it,' and I had a five-minute warning [to prepare]," said Rachel.

During her presentation, she described the process of washing the lambs, which involves scrubbing the buildup that accumulates in the creases by their legs.

"It's like snot," she said. "They get this gooey gross brown stuff and it stinks. And we usually get a sock and we clean it all out and it takes about five minutes."

Although Rachel said she washes the lambs about once a month, she washes them twice during fair week.

She said she enjoys the day camp.

"It's a great experience," she said. "I think everyone should do it."

Simons, who noted that there are 16 registered campers this year, said that younger kids' experiences from the camp will help them choose an appropriate project.

"We like to have the older kids do the presentations because it gives them experience talking to younger kids, and they also have a wealth of knowledge because they've been doing this for several years and they know what they're doing," she said. "And they're very helpful for the younger kids to get to know their project better."

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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