7/29/2013 7:00 AM
By Shannon Sollinger Virginia Correspondent
SHARPSBURG, Md. — Tessa Wiles, 19, was the most senior of the senior competitors in dairy showmanship at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair July 23, and she was the best.
“It feels great that this is my last year of showing,” Wiles said. “And I go out with a bang.”
Wiles topped a competitive senior class of 11 exhibitors — including her sisters Macayla and Rachel — with her homebred 2-year-old Jersey cow, Heavensent Action Timely Fashion.
The cow was born and raised on her parents’ Heavensent Farm in Hagerstown, Md., and Wiles has been exhibiting the cow in showmanship and open classes for two years.
Judge Emily Yeiser said before the show that she was looking for “a youth showman who has full control of their animal, pays attention to where I am in the ring and constantly makes their calf look as good as possible.” And, of course, the animal will be well fitted and clean.
She found the whole package in Wiles, who was “a little quicker on her feet when I changed sides,” and knew “exactly what I was looking for.”
Yeiser has been judging cattle since she was 8. She grew up just outside Annapolis, Md., and got involved in the dairy industry by leasing or borrowing cows from nearby farms. She judged through 4-H and college and now has a Penn State degree in animal science and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech. She lives in Harrisburg, Pa., and works at the Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence.
Yeiser said the junior and intermediate class winners also did a good job and that with a little more time, they will be more in tune in reacting to the judge’s movements .
Ryan Snyder of Smithsburg, Md., won the junior showmanship with his grandparents’ Lonely-Willow Alex Brittany, a yearling spring heifer Holstein, and easily the largest animal in the ring for the junior class. Ryan was in full control of his heifer the whole time, Yeiser said after awarding the ribbon, and “paid attention to where I was all the time.”
In the intermediate class, Sydney Davis went to the head of the class with her Holstein spring heifer calf, Mel-O-Dawn Maccoy Claudia. Sydney and her Holstein prevailed two weeks earlier in the junior showmanship show at the Washington County Holstein Association show. At that show, her sister, Ashley Davis, was a close second. In the ag expo intermediate class, Ashley’s heifer was less than cooperative, but she garnered third place.
Sydney maintained full control of her cow, Yeiser noted, switching the feet well and knowing where the judge was at all times.
Jacob Miller, with his 2-year-old Jersey, WF Rocket Pumpkin, earned second.
Yeiser’s three class winners were all in top form, she said, but her senior showman “just blew me away today.”
Wiles has finished a year of classes at Hagerstown Community College, but isn’t settled on a career or academic path yet. She’s very social, she said, and likes talking to people, so whatever she does, it will involve that.
And she’ll be back next year coaching her sister, Macayla, who will be 19 and in her last year of 4-H showing.