Farm Show Tales: Thursday, January 9th

Polo players give royal performance at the sport of kings

poloThe state Farm Show Complex Equine Arena this week has hosted everything from dairy oxen to antique tractors during the 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show.

On Thursday, it hosted a polo game.

Under the watchful gaze of thousands of cheering spectators, six mounted teen-agers played “the sport of kings.” Their fast-paced game, part athletic ability, part horsemanship and all fun, pitted the West Shore Polo Club of Mechanicsburg against the Work to Ride Polo Club of Philadelphia.

The West Shore Polo Club won, 8-4, but the real winner seemed to be the appreciative audience.

“This was a terrific demonstration,” said Leonard Bernes of Lancaster, watching the game with his wife and their two grandchildren. ” Both teams have talent and fantastic horsemanship. They controlled their horses and had excellent shots.”

Polo, a game played on horseback, features two teams using long-handled mallets to hit a ball to the opponent’s goal. Indoor or arena polo features three riders per team.

The West Shore polo players made it look easy as they played through chukkers or periods.. One of them, George Hempt, is a fourth generation player.

Their opponents, the Work to Ride Polo Club, belong to the community-based club that helps disadvantaged urban youth ages 7 to 19 through constructive activities such as equine sports.

Auctioneers entertain, educate and sell merchandise at Farm Show

bidcall1HARRISBURG — Auctioneers may be the unsung heroes of the 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show.

They preside over sales of everything from shawls to swine, trying to please both sellers and buyers.

On Wednesday night, auctioneers were in the spotlight during the annual bid calling contest.

Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Auctioneers Association and coordinated by the association’s southeast chapter, the event featured 27 auctioneers from throughout the state and 300 prospective bidders looking for a bargain in the household goods.

A panel of judges evaluated the auctioneers’ speech, salesmanship, microphone ability, bid calling ability and appearance.

“Auctions are big in Pennsylvania,” said Michael Miller of Lancaster, who chaired the bid calling contest. “There are over 2,000 licensed auctioneers in this state.”

Each auctioneer had a different style, although all had the characteristic rapid auctioneering chant popular at tobacco auctions in the South.

Clyde DeHart, owner of DeHart’s Auction warehouse in Carlisle, said auctioneers must make eye contact with the bidders. Bruce Best of Hatfield said he was nervous to participate in his first state-wide audience.

Rhonda Nissley of Mount Joy, daughter of an auctioneer, said auctioneers must smile often and make eye contact.

“Show your knowledge of the item and have a good chant,” she recommended. “And be clear. Clarity is the most important thing so people know what they getting.”

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