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Harrisburg - Representative Mark Keller, from District 86 covering Franklin and Perry Counties, bested 15 other state legislators in the VIP Dairy Showmanship Wednesday, Jan. 12, at the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

With a Jersey from Barbara Aldrich of Reich-Dale Farm in Chambersburg, Franklin County, Keller was picked from the top three legislators against last year's winner Senator Mike Waugh and newcomer Representative John Lawrence.

Organized by the Center for Dairy Excellence and PennAg Industries Association, this contest brought in members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to work with their constituents, leading dairy animals around the Large Arena at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.

Before the contest started, constituents gave the legislators lessons on showing the animals, and assistants were matched with each team to discuss the state of the dairy industry.

Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. served as the host for the event. A fourth-generation dairy farmer from Beaver County, Senator Vogel currently serves as chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

"After last year's contest, a few legislators were anxious to come back and take the title from Senator Waugh," Vogel said.

Judges for the contest were Rick Allen, a dairy farmer from Fayette County, and Kerry Golden, majority executive director of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

While legislators tried their hands at showing a dairy cow and the judges deliberated, master of ceremonies, Kirk Sattazahn, provided the audience with some facts about agriculture and the dairy industry.

Before choosing his winner, Judge Allen addressed the legislators. "What you did here today is what thousands of young people look forward to every year," he said.

The other 15 legislators who participated in the contest are listed with their constituent helpers:

Sen. Richard Alloway II, Zachary Nell, Gettysburg, Adams Co.
Sen. John Eichelberger, Jr., Robert Stanton, Everett, Bedford Co.
Sen. Lloyd Smucker, Jay Findley, Quarryville, Lancaster Co.
Sen. Tim Solobay, Sherry Bashore, Annville, Lancaster Co.
Sen. Mike Waugh, Kelly Johnson, York, York Co.
Sen. Gene Yaw, Abbie Kuhlman, Rome, Bradford Co.
Rep. Stephen Bloom, Denise Hantranft, Covington, Tioga Co.
Rep. Garth Everett, Anny Fry, Cogan Station, Lycoming Co.
Rep. Mike Fleck, Steve Snyder, Pitman, Schuykill Co.
Rep. John Lawrence, Jared Wetzel, Manheim, Lancaster Co.
Rep. Jim Marshall, Brian Nailor, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co.
Rep. Robert Matzie, June Rose, Lebanon, Lebanon Co.
Rep. David Millard, Laura Heilinger, Lebanon, Lebanon Co.
Rep. Tina Pickett, Courtney Campbell, Gratz, Dauphin Co.
Rep. Keith Gillepsie, Kelly Johnson, York, York Co.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 8-15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10.

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For photos of the contest, click here.