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Young 4-H'er prepares animals for showing at fair

For 14-year-old Mackenzie Zepp, prepping for the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair is just one of her daily chores.

"It's an ongoing, daily thing. I mark the fair on my calendar. I like being able to raise an animal and feel accomplished at the end," Mackenzie said.

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Mackenzie is a member of the Shipley 4-H Club and has shown animals for six years. She said she picks out which animals she would like to show in January and works with them until the fair.

"I have to say the best part of showing is being able to work with animals and developing a bond with them," Mackenzie said.

This year Mackenzie will show a beef steer, a shorthorn heifer and a market pig. She is raising the animals at her family's farm in Westminster.

"I exercise them daily, and I wash and blow-dry them to get a nicer look," Mackenzie said.

Mackenzie, who will be a freshman at Westminster High School in the fall, also plays volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse but said showing is her passion.

"There's a rush while you're showing and competing," Mackenzie said.

Jeannie Cooney, organizational leader of the Shipley 4-H Club, said Mackenzie has grown during her 4-H experience.

"She always has a lot of confidence in the ring and it's grown as she's gotten older," Cooney said.

Laura Zepp, Mackenzie's mother, said she got Mackenzie involved in 4-H because she loves animals.

"She takes such good care of her animals," Zepp said.

Mackenzie has also developed strong relationships with other 4-H'ers.

"It's a great program for kids to be together, work together and learn responsibility," Zepp said.

Mackenzie said she is excited for the fair and can't wait to show.

"We take them in on Monday and get them used to people being around them. Every morning, we wake up and go down there to take care of them. We hang out with them and make sure they stay clean," Mackenzie said.

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Mackenzie will show her animals throughout the week. She will compete in both showmanship, in which the 4-H'ers' capabilities are judged, and market show, in which the quality of the animal is judged.

Mackenzie and her mother said the fair is a community effort.

"We go early and we stay late, and there's so many people there doing that," Zepp said. "On sale night, when the kids go up to sell their animals, the community really comes together to support the fair. They know they're buying good quality meat and helping the kids out."

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If you go:

What: 2015 Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair

Where: Carroll County Ag Center, 700 Agriculture Center Drive, Westminster

When: Aug. 1-8

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