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Matt with his parents Melvin and Gorena share their love for farming with the The Samsels make Farm Show a
Samsels’ grandchildren, twins Kayla and Bradley, 4, and Alexis, 18 months, rlsburg during the shows.
LOU ANN GOOD
Lancaster Farming Staff
OLEY (Berks Co.) Elcvcn
year-old Matt Samsel has been
looking forward to this week all
year. It’s Farm Show Time!
Samsel is entering two heifer
Herefords, Zina and Rosa, and an
Angus steer named Bubba in
“Sure, it would be nice to win,
but I really don’t do it to win.” Matt
What Matt likes best about the
Farm Show is talking with all the
other folks who love steers and
farming as much as he does.
“You can leant so much by talk
ing with others. It’s so neat to meet
so many people,” Matt said. “I
really enjoy the experience.”
Now a 7th grader at Oley Junior
High School, Matt has a reputation
among his school mates and teach
ers. One teacher summed it up by
saying, “Ask him anything about
chickens, farms, and tractors, and
he can tell you everything.”
Farming is Matt’s life
nothing seems to come close in
capturing his interest.
“I was part of the wrestling team
and some other things, but I gave it
up for 4-H because I like it a lot
belter,” Matt said.
The family have about 20 head
of cattle on their 13-acre Windy
Valiev Farm. Matt purchased five
goats to help keep the weeds down.
“Ever since I can remember I’d
follow .dad around the place and
help out,” Matt said.
“He’s a real hustler,” Matt’s dad
Melvin said. “He’S’ always hus-
ding to make a buck so he can buy
After his dad purchased his first
steer for him several years ago,
Matt has thought up projects to
earn more money so that he can go
to livestock auctions. Recendy,
he’s been chopping and selling
firewood for extra bucks.
Matt and his dad attend a lot of
aucdons. Matt said that bidding at
an auction happens so fast that you
must be prepared ahead of time to
know exacdy how high you want
to bid and then stop if the bidding
goes above that
“Unless you go to a sale, you
can’t imagine seeing all those great
animals at Dunwalke Farms,” Matt
said of the New Jersey sale where
he purchased his steer. Peterson
and Shaner Farms in Amityville is
where Matt purchased a heifer this
He’s really pleased with Bubba.
which he purchased. As soon as he
gave the final bid, another bidder
offered him an additional $5OO on
the spot for the steer, but Matt
“I was pleased with what I got
and I didn’t want to sell,” Matt
said. “Dad thought I should take
the money, but he left it up to me.”
Matt’s dream is to go West on a
combine crew and later buy a farm.
He likes all aspects of farming.
Each year he also raises vegetables
to enter in competition and local
His mother, Corena, said that
Matt is mechanically inclined and
likes to fix his dad’s junk. Both
collect antique tractors (full-sized)
Farm Show Than Winning
and antique toys.
Although Matt is the only one in
the Samsel family eligible to be a
4-H member, the whole family is
“It’s a great club,” is echoed
again and again by Matt and his
parents. Not only do club members
help one another but also parents
help not only their own children
but also other members.
“They aren’t in it for money and
fame. It’s just everyone working
together,” Samsel said.
In addition to the state Farm
Show, Matt shows at Oley, Kutz
town, and Reading Fairs and at
At the Pennsylvania Farm
Show, the Samsels meet people
from across the state.
“There’re just wonderful people
at the Farm Show. We enjoy, meet
ing old friends,” Corene said of the
families they see each year at the
“It’s a way to learn about diffe
rent feeding programs and help in
showing animals,” Matt said.
Like many showmen. Matt
spends several evenings sleeping
in the bams with his animals.
“We have a lot of fun, and it isn’t
very quiet,” Matt said.
One year, Matt was sound
asleep in the hay, when a man
started carrying him to a truck
because he thought Matt was his
After raising animals for show
ing, the time eventually comes to
part with it This can be traumatic.
Matt said, “When I sold my first
steer, he looked at me with his big
sad eyes as if to say, ‘Are you leav
ing me here?”’
Matt said, “I’d rather he’d kick
me so I wouldn’t feel guilty.”
All prize money goes into a spe
cial fund for college. Matt already
decided he’s going to Delaware
Valley College to major in some
type of agriculture.
Matt has two sisters and one
brother who are married. His twin
niece and nephew, Kayla and
Bradley, 4, live with the Samsels.
Another niece, Alexis, 18 months,
lives nearby and often come to vis
it. Already the nieces and nephew
show an interest in the animals and
Grandpa promises to get them
Eleven-year-old Matt Samsel prepares this heifer tor
ly affair, and spend several nights In Har-
started with their own animal as
soon as they can join 4-H.
' “I can’t say enough good about
4-H. Kids leant responsibility, car
ing, and they meet so many won
derful people in the program.”
According to Matt, Farm Show
would not be complete without
roast beef sandwiches, baked pota
toes, and potato doughnuts.
“1 also have to eat at least five of
each of those things,” Matt said.
When Matt cntcfs the show ring,
he said, he feels excited and nerv
ous all at the same time. “But it’s
not important to win first place, I
just love to enjoy the experience,”