Montgomery County Fair, 4-H brings couple together -- Gazette.Net



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David Lechlider said he first realized there was a spark between him and Kimberly, now his wife, at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.

Though they met long before they started participating in 4-H activities at the fair, the Lechliders of Mount Airy have special memories of the hours they spent there showing pigs and cattle, getting to know each other better.

Kimberly, 25, and David, 28, were married May 19 on the Lechlider family farm, Sunny Ridge, in Laytonsville.

“As big as [4-H] is, it’s still a tight community. The people stay your friends,” David said.

One of their wedding photos shows the couple on a farm combine, acknowledging the farm life they are committed to.

David’s family has been farming for six generations. Along with his father and an uncle, he now farms 1,800 acres, most of it rented or leased land, he said. Together they raise corn, soybeans, wheat, straw, hay and beef cattle.

“I’ve always wanted to farm,” he said. “I need to be doing something different every day, I’ve got to be outside.”

Kimberly grew up in Rockville on five acres that the family did not farm.

“One day my dad came home and said ‘we’re going to get pigs,’ so we started with pigs then lambs, then cattle,” she said.

They went to different high schools, Kimberly to Col. Zadok Magruder in Derwood and David to Damascus. It was through 4-H their friendship blossomed.

The couple said they actually met though family friends. Their mothers went to Sherwood High School, in Sandy Spring, together.

“My earliest memory of her was in her grandmother’s pool. I was throwing a diving stick and hit her in the head. We were young, probably about 6,” David said.

Kimberly remembers that, too.

“He hit me on the lip and I was bleeding,” she said.

But it was the county fair that brought them together.

“The fair is where we got together,” David said, “We were showing [cattle and pigs] at the same time.”

He said he realized there was a spark between the two of them during fair time about seven or eight years ago.

“The fair for 4-Hers is like the beach for other kids. Its where you find your summer romance,” he said.

Kimberly said she doesn’t know how long ago she felt the spark.

“I always had a thing for him. Once he walked by and I told my little sister, ‘one day I’m going to marry him,’” she said.

Both Kimberly and David said they enjoyed their years at the fair while members of 4-H.

By the time they were teenagers, 4-H members were no longer allowed to spend fair week sleeping in the barns, David said. Their families stayed in campers.

“It was a week you got to spend with family and friends and showing your passion to the public,” Kimberly said. “Now I enjoy it because I still help at the pig show, giving back to 4-H because I got a lot out of it.”

Kimberly and David both realize they learned a lot being in 4-H.

Kimberly said the best things she learned in 4-H were responsibility and leadership.

So what does it take to be a modern farm couple?

Kimberly teaches special education at Brown Station Elementary School in Gaithersburg and said she does not know how to can or make preserves and doesn’t have a “green thumb.”

“Its about being supportive and knowing there will be times he can’t get away,” she said.

David said he works 12 hours a day in the summer and maybe 18 hours in the fall during harvest. He said Kimberly is very understanding about his hours.

“Sometimes I take him a snack and ride the combine with him while he harvests the grain,” Kimberly said.

pmcewan@gazette.net