Friday, June 27, 2008

Showing sheep

A sheep show is a curious affair to the uninitiated. There are lots of sheep, of course, and all things related to sheep and fiber. My sister - one of the uninitiated - noticed a definite "look" to most of the people. Call it weathered or "earthy;" she confided that some of them looked like they slept with their sheep. (Truth be told, a lot of them probably had on occasion!) It also helps to be deaf. Especially at the shows early in the season, where there are lots of little lambs far, far from home. I don't care if they are weaned or not, they still want their mamas! The noise doesn't bother me too much, as Valentine has pretty much played on that nerve until it's dead. "Baaaaah!," she yells at me every morning and evening. "BAAAAH!!!" Motherhood does that to some of us....

Shetlands are usually shown with halters and lead ropes, which is very helpful if you're not a midget. But when your sheep is supposed to be standing still and showing off all its assets, you have to get down on its level or bend wa-a-ay over. (Wardrobe note: don't wear shirts that gape in front or back - unless, of course, you're the kind of woman who LIKES to show off all her assets, the judge is a man, and the sheep you're showing is less than perfect!)

Black Sheep Gathering limits each breeder to two animals per class, and even with that, the classes were good-sized. There were ten yearling rams, 23 ram lambs, 18 yearling ewes, and 21 ewe lambs from 12 different farms in their respective classes (in addition to classes for ram lamb pairs, ewe lamb pairs and young flock, plus champion ram and champion ewe). I showed Braveheart in yearling rams and Blizz and Bluster in ram lambs and ram lamb pairs (thanks to Franna Pitt's help!). That's me in the bright-blue shirt (chosen specifically for its non-gaping qualities!), and Franna in the white sweatshirt.Bluster, the ram lamb I handled, discovered he lu-u-uved being scratched during his classes, so his stance is one of a sheep trying to melt into a puddle of bliss. Many thanks to my sister who was snapping pictures while I was otherwise occupied!

Congratulations to Susie Sizemore of Misty View Farm on her champion ram (in back), and Marybeth Bullington of Shady Oaks Shetlands on her reserve champion ram!
Marybeth Bullington of Shady Oaks Shetlands was very happy with her winning ewe lamb, who went on to win Champion Shetland Ewe, with Lynne Deschler of Cedar Haven Farm taking Reserve Champion honors.
Misty View Farm also had the top young flock.
For a sheep lover and fiberholic, a sheep show is a wonderful place to be. That's why you'll see me at the State Fair and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, even if I'm not showing Boulderneigh sheep!

That's it for now at . . .

5 comments:

A :-) said...

Oh Michelle - Braveheart is the most beautiful camel color! It looks like you had a wonderful time :-)

Tina T-P said...

Your sister did get some great pictures - I was not able to get up and down every time so I got lots of pictures that were way far away - and I couldn't hear worth beans - wish they'd move a speaker into the show ring area. T

Windyridge said...

I remember many a sore back after showing!
The sheep look awesome!

Sharon said...

I love the smell, I love the sound but I joined 4H was I was ten and started in with sheep two years later. I grew up thinking barns smelled good. I still do.

Julie said...

My neighbor and I showed my sheep for this first time at the MD Sheep and Wool Festival this spring. We had been given much the same warning about the "earthiness" of sheep show people, and it was definitely true! We had a great time, and I'm looking forward to the next show this fall.

Fortunately I show something taller than a Shetland, so I don't have to worry about a sore back. Those are great photos and some great looking sheep!