Monday, August 18, 2008

County Fair Time!

Dave and I have "done" the Puyallup Fair, first with our daughter in dog 4H, and more recently with our sheep in the Open class. Last year we got together with the NW Shetland Sheep Group and exhibited our sheep at the Skagit County Fair - a very nice small sized fair held in Mt. Vernon. Well, when ERN is complete, the Island County Fair will be our "home" fair, so we decided to add it to our schedule this year.

So, off we went, 2 weeks ago to the Skagit Fair with a string of Shetlands (for the second annual NW Shetland Sheep Group show) and a string of Natural Colored Gotland X sheep. We had a great time again with all the sheep folks and showing our sheep. Donna and Tina have posted photos and blogs about our Shetland "show", so I'll refer you to them for neat photos of that event.

Two days after getting home from the Skagit Fair, I packed up another string of sheep for the Island County Fair - GotlandX's in grey and white (ICF allows crossbred, non-registered sheep to be shown), and the 4 Scottish Blackface sheep.

There was a lot of "what was I thinking???" going through my head, but eventually, I and the sheep got packed and ready. The ICF is a smaller fair than the SCF, with a sheep barn maybe 1/4 the size with a dirt floor and cattle panel dividers. Most of the exhibitors are 4H'ers, and the other 2 Open exhibitors were connected with 4H. The kids were wonderful! Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and were always willing to help this sometimes creaky, never enough hands, shepherd. They had an amazing number of wool clothing items and educational posters on display!

Here's DH finishing up feeding the ewes and lambs.

The ewes could (and did!) poke their heads through the large grids in the cattle panels and solicited pats from Fairgoers, and stole hay from the neighboring sheep pens. Here is another view of our ewe and lamb pens:

And the Ram pen, with our posters on the wall above:

Butch, our Scottish Blackface yearling ram was the big draw in the Sheep Barn. Throughout the Fair, folks were pointing and commenting on his horns. The sheep show judge really liked the length of his loin, his fleece and his conformation. She liked him enough, in fact, to award him BEST IN SHOW over all the sheep there!!! That is really unusual for a minor breed like Scottish Blackface.

He really is an impressive ram, and we are very pleased :-)

Butch wasn't the only one of our sheep to do well in the competition. Two farms brought Gotland X sheep to show - between us we had 12 Gotland X's - 4 yearlings and 8 lambs. Bill, one of our 75% Gotland ram lambs, was awarded Champion Gotland X ram, and Bossie, one of our Gotland/Finn yearling ewes was awarded Champion Gotland X ewe. In the final lineup for Supreme Ram and Ewe, Bill was awarded the Champion Natural Colored Ram! Wow! Here are Bill and I with his Rosettes - they're almost as tall as he is!

And here's a photo of what his fleece looks like under those Rosettes - YUM!

In the fleece show, one of Joanne's white GotlandX lamb fleeces won BEST IN SHOW!!! And one of our Shetland Ram fleeces was Best Natural Colored Fleece!

The best part of the Fair is the people, though. Sheep people, and especially small county fair type sheep people are just the nicest, friendliest folks anywhere. We're really looking forward to moving to the Island. :-)

- Franna


Dave said...

For those of you keeping score, Butch was the lamb who had the broken leg last year...

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I was wondering if that was Butch. Makes all your nursing worthwhile, doesn't it? :-)

I'm surprised your head doesn't look twice its normal size in that photo, as well as you guys did! Guess it just shows what nice people you are that you can hog all the ribbons and still have normal-sized heads. Congratulations!!!

Kathy said...

I, too, wondered if that was himself. Congratulations! Great news!

Franna said...

That's Butch alright. Funny, I watch him walk straight away and it's difficult to see that his leg turns slightly out. least I think it still does....
- Franna

Dave said...

I only notice his leg when he runs, it gives him an odd gait, but otherwise I don't notice it anymore... It doesn't affect his ability to do his ramly duty, as his (very nice!!!) son, Leviticus (Levi), can attest...