The Agriculture Ambassador Contestant
Name: Valorie Miller
Stats: 17, lives at Waymore Farm in Davidsonville, Anne Arundel County.
Experience: Member of the Annapolis Pony Club. 2003 Agriculture Ambassador from Anne Arundel County.
2003 Competition: 2003 Maryland Farm Bureau Agriculture Ambassador Contest.
Lucky charm: Bracelet her boyfriend gave her for Valentine's Day.
Quote: "I'm excited about going to State Fair. I want to promote agriculture and get it more known to people. I think this will be a great experience."
The Stunt Guy
Name: Shawn Cornwell aka "Babyface"
Stats: 17, from Portland, Ore.
Experience: Three years competitive gymnastics, three-year member of the snowboarding team at Sandy High School in Portland; two years competing on the amateur skateboarding and snowboarding circuit. Hired by Xtreme Air - The Ultimate Stunt Show in April 2000. Team performs at fairs and festivals nationwide, including last year's Maryland State Fair.
Event: Lead flyer off the Russian Swing, doing triple flips and other stunts. Flips and other moves during an 85-foot free fall off the high vault tower. Joins other team members doing synchronized gymnastic routines on the 60-foot trampoline.
Quote: "I like traveling, meeting new people and seeing new places. I really enjoy doing the show. It's fun and it's what I've always wanted to do. Hopefully, this is starting a career for me in the stunt business or doing action films."
The Longtime Volunteer
Name: F. Grove Miller
Stats: 75, from North East, Cecil County
Title: President of the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society Inc.
Experience: Helped organize the Cecil County Fair, 1954; previously judged events at Harford and Frederick county fairs, also judged county Farm Queen contests statewide. Appointed to Maryland State Fair Board, 1967; worked with 4-H events there for 30 years, also judged dairy cattle and farm produce. As president, Miller is the ultimate judge at State Fair - any dispute in any competition, the final decision rests with him.
Quote: "The young people are really the biggest thing about the fair. I get a big kick out of the kids - when they show their animals and show a big smile and then later at the [livestock] sale when they [sell their animals and] show a few tears."
Name: Ann Couwenhoven
Stats: In her 40s, from Monkton, Baltimore County.
Experience: Accomplished baker who learned from her mother and grandmother. Previous baking competitions at Maryland State Fair. Won the 1999 Land O' Lakes Cookie Contest there. Second place in the 2000 Fleischmann's Yeast Bread Contest and first place for same item in fair competition. Second place in the 2002 Clabber Girl Quick Bread Contest and first place for same item at fair.
2003 Competitions: Preserves, cookies, the Fleischmann's bread contest, the Herb-Ox Bouillon Comfort Food Contest and the Governor's Cake.
Quote: "It's one thing to get compliments from your friends and family. It's another thing to be judged by professional chefs. The state fair judges are wonderful because they're honest with you. You can ask them, 'What's wrong with my cookies?' or even how you can improve. For me that's so important. If you want to get better, you have to learn where your shortcomings are."
Stats: 2-year-old, 625-lb. Poland China sow from KC Farms in Walkersville, Frederick County.
Experience: Grand Champion Poland China Female at Montgomery County Fair 2002; Champion Poland China Female at Frederick County Fair 2002, Supreme Champion Female of all swine at Frederick County Fair 2001. Grand Champion Poland China Female at Keystone International Livestock Exposition 2001 in Harrisburg, Pa.; Grand Champion Poland China Female at Maryland State Fair 2001.
2003 Competition: Mature Yearling Sows class in the Swine Show.
In The Show Ring: Missy is energetic, likes to run and keeps her owner, Ken Bauer, on his toes.
Quote: Judges usually find Missy "extremely wide in her rib, open in her chest and really massive in muscle." Even at her weight "she still runs around the ring like a 3-year-old [child]. That gives her that champion quality."
The Horse Trainer
Name: King Leatherbury
Stats: 70, Mitchellville in Prince George's County
Experience: Got horse trainer's license 1958, saddled first winning horse 1959. Raced mostly at Maryland tracks, which now number Laurel, Pimlico and Timonium. Began racing at State Fair 1959. Named fair's leading trainer (with most winning horses per meet) many times.
2003 Competition: Eight days of horse racing at Timonium.
Best Known For: Is closing in on his 6,000th win, which will make him on of only three horse trainers in the world who have at least 6,000 wins.
Quote: "Timonium is a fun little track because you're so close to the horses. The racing is a huge part of the fair. There's a lot of fairs around, but few of them have horse races anymore. If you go back in tradition, that's where a lot of little race meets sprung up - at the fairs."
The Produce Grower
Name: John and Donna Sippel
Stats: 65 and 60, co-own Sippel Bros. Farm in Overlea-Fullerton area
Experience: Lifelong vegetable growers, farm in family for three generations. John has been president of Farmers Produce Association for 17 years, Donna has been secretary for 17 years. More than 25 years entering produce at state fair; past several years items placed from 2nd to 6th in various categories including 2001 2nd place Vegetable Display.
Lucky charm: Choosing items that look good in size, shape and color.
Quote: "To us, State Fair stands for family and fellowship with the agriculture community. It's fun. And it's educational."
The Lifelong 4-H Achiever
Name: Jamie Lynn Lippy
Stats: 15, from Lineboro, Carroll County
Experience: Eight years showing at the Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair, member of the Deep Run 4-H Club, the 4-H Performing Arts Club, the Carroll County Cattle Club, the 4-H Livestock Club and the Carroll County 4-H Teen Council. Has previously entered 4-H woodworking, crafts, baking, sewing, cattle and sheep competitions at State Fair. Recently named to the Maryland State Fair's Junior Fair Board.
2003 Competitions: 4-H sewing, livestock judging, cattle and sheep shows.
Lucky charm: Pin in memory of 4-H member and mentor Eddie Harrison.
Quote: "I like getting the word out about 4-H and having [the public] come to see us. It's like a learning experience for them."
The Master Smocker
Name: Lizzette Smith
Stats: 34, from Columbia, Howard County
Experience: Self-taught smocker learned embroidery and needlework growing up in El Salvador. Five years winning ribbons in clothing competitions at Howard County Fair. Four years winning ribbons in applique, smocking and heirloom sewing contests at Maryland State Fair. Last year won 1st Place Girls Dressy Dress and People's Choice award for same dress.
2003 Competitions: Heirloom sewing and smocking.
Quote: "[The recognition] is very nice because I don't have any formal training like a seamstress. I'm a dentist. I just enjoy doing this. Most of the time I just bring my daughter's clothes. I don't make things just for the fair, although some years I do try to have her Christmas dress done in time for the fair."