We have fun participating in the Lead Class at the Puyallup Fair. It is a class to show off and promote wearing wool. It also gives us a chance to showcase our less mainstream sheep breeds. Each contestant leads a sheep, wears wool clothing and writes a little story about the person, the sheep and the wool clothing items. Typically, there are a few entries in the lads lead, a few more in the "young" ladies classes, and 5 to 8 in the "aged ewes" class - which includes me.
Dave led Sweet Pea again this year. He likes promoting the Scotties, and with their very independent attitudes, they're not so easy to halter train. They're always a crowd favorite. Here's the Dashing Dude in his Shetland vest (spun and knit by moi) and Pendleton wool hat.
Sweet Pea stood nicely in the lineup. They earned second place this year, after having been awarded first in 2007.
Now, it's my turn to brag. After all the years of entering Ladies Lead - I finally won! - Not that winning is a big deal - that's not what the class is all about. It's still nice to win once in a while.
Contestants earn extra points for handmade articles, and more points for ones made by the contestant. This year, I "went Shetland". I wore the Shetland sweater that I designed, spun and knit, carried the Shetland/Corriedale shawl that I designed, spun and knit, led the Shetland ewe, Elora, who wore a Shetland lace sampler scarf that I also designed, spun and knit. I went over Elora multiple times to get her as clean as possible, she was fed and content before the class started.
Here we are in our finery. The white, grey and black in the shawl are the same wools as in the sweater. The dark red is overdyed grey, and the blue is Corriedale from Cary Smith's Serenity Farms flock.
If you get a chance to enter a Lead class, go for it! It's a lot of fun and a good way to showcase the great properties of wool and promote your farm. Most sheep shows have a Lead class of sorts. The Black Sheep Gathering has a Spinner's Lead where all the items have to be handmade by someone. You can often borrow a fiber animal to lead or carry.