Six teenagers on horses at the 97th Pennsylvania Farm Show gave a royal demonstration Thursday of a game nicknamed “The Sport of Kings.”
The teens, representing the West Shore Polo Club of the Mechanicsburg area and Work to Ride Polo Club of Philadelphia, gave a polo demonstration in the Equine Arena as hundreds of spectators cheered them on.
Polo, played on horseback, involves two teams of mounted players using long-handled mallets to hit small plastic balls into the opposing team’s goal. Field polo uses four players, while arena polo uses three.
The Farm Show demonstration did not include the ceremonial “stomping of the divets,” a polo tradition at halftime of a match in which spectators are invited to go on the field and stomp down mounds of earth that have been torn up by horse hooves.
“This is fun,” Patrick Kerwin, Farm Show Complex executive director, said watching the teams in action.
Keeping it in the Family
Three Pennsylvania farm families with a combined 461 years of farming have been honored by the state Agriculture Department..
The farm of Ralph and Geraldine Fair in Manns Choice, Bedford County, received Bicentennial Farm status. The farm of Kevin and Jonna Zimmerman in Mifflinburg, Union County, and the farm of David and Melba Williams and Sandra French in Honesdale, Wayne County, were designated as Century Farms.
“The Farm Show is a great place to recognize our state’s longstanding, dedicated farm families,” said state Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “More than 97 percent of Pennsylvania farms are family owned. Many pass from generation to generation. The resilient families we honored today are a shining example of our state’s rich farming heritage that spans centuries.”
Since the Century Farm program’s inception in 1977 and the creation of the Bicentennial Farm program in 2004, the agriculture department has recognized 1,926 Century and 160 Bicentennial Farms.
Information on the Fair farm dates back to the original sheepskin deed from the William Penn family to Dr. John Anderson, who founded the Bedford Springs resort. The farm was sold from Anderson to Ralph Fair’s great-great-great-grandfather for $5 per acre, and the family retains the Sept. 5, 1812, deed from that transfer. The homestead includes a farmhouse built in 1837 and still in use today. Now, the eighth generation of Fairs is helping on the 226-acre organic dairy and poultry operation.
The Zimmermans have lived in Buffalo Valley since the 1800s. Kevin and Jonna Zimmerman can trace their roots to those early farmers. Great-uncle Orville Zimmerman bought the farm for $29 per acre on May 19, 1910, a mile from his parents’ farm. Four generations of Zimmermans have worked the farm’s original 56 – now 156 – acres, now primarily a poultry and beef operation. Union County is home to 32 Century Farms.
The Sonner farm, now under the care of David and Melba Williams and sister Sandra French, was purchased in 1856. The acreage originally supported an orchard and winery, and now supplies vegetables for the family’s farm market and hay. The farm is one of 28 Century Farms in Wayne County.
The Samuel and Everell Wagner Farm of Tionesta, Forest County, also received Century Farm designation, but no representatives attended the presentation.
The century farm program was established to help promote the strength and durability of Pennsylvania’s farm families and to recognize families who have been farming the same land for 100 years.
To be eligible for the program, a farm must be owned by the same family for at least 100 consecutive years. A family member must live on the farm on a permanent basis, and the farm must include at least 10 acres of the original holding or gross more than $1,000 annually from the sale of farm products.
How Sweet It Is
Marian Fields of Bedford County won first place, $125 and a gift bag in the Farm Show’s first Fudge Contest, sponsored by Mrs. Gibble’s Candies and Restaurant.
Fields out-fudged 22 entries with her Creamy Chocolate Cranberry Fudge recipe. Second place and $125 went to Sally Reinoehl of Schuylkill County. Pam Foor of Bedford County won third place and $25, while Jim Harper of Centre County won fourth place and Elizabeth Pokrivka of York County came in fifth.
The three judges evaluated the entries for smoothness, flavor, texture, appearance and creativity in the entries.
Students in the Mifflinburg FFA and Cumberland County 4-H won top honors in the Farm Safety Quiz Bowl.
The Mifflinburg FFA team included Blair Digan, Olivia Dietrich, Trevor Clouser and Ashley Confer. The Cumberland County Team was comprised of Rachel Cohick, Nathon Repetz and Kirsten Martin.
Teams had to answer agricultural questions. Semi-finals for the Quiz Bowl will be held at Ag Progress Days in Rock Springs this summer. The top four teams from the FFA and 4-H divisions automatically qualify to compete at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.
The Senator and the Cow
State Sen. Mike Waugh of York County, already known for his expertise with horses, has won the Farm Show Celebrity Dairy Showmanship contest.
Waugh seemed to have an edge against the 16 other legislators vying for bragging rights as VIP dairy showman.
The Johnson family of Rutters Farm from York provided the heifer for Waugh to show. Waugh credited Cindy Johnson with coaching him prior to the contest.
“She instructed me on how to position the animal’s legs, hold her head up, hold the throat skin, keep her topline straight, and watch the judge at all times.” commented Waugh after his win.