18th January 2008
EverRanch Farm shows our sheep at several events each year. One of our favorite events is the Puyallup Fair Sheep Show. A that event, a "full string" is composed of 2 yearling rams, 2 yearling ewes, 2 ram lambs and 2 ewe lambs in each breed. Group classes are also offered and use the 8 sheep in various combinations. One year our Shetland moms gave us only one ram lamb - excellent for going forward, as a breeder needs more ewes than rams. However, we were short the second ram lamb for competing that fall. The premiums at the Puyallup Fair are generous enough that buying a market quality ram lamb to fill out our string was economically feasible.
So we bought two non-breeding quality ram lambs, intending to sell them for meat after the shows. All went well that spring and summer. Marten and Landen grew, learned to walk on a halter and lead, and were polished for the show ring. Our daughter used Landen to fill her string, and we used Marty. Landen impressed the judge so much that he won First Place Ram Lamb and Champion Shetland Ram at the show! Marty was part of the Best Pair of Ram Lambs and Best Young Flock.
About 2 weeks after the show, I sheared both of them in preparation for sending them to market. Just when we were getting ready to call the farm abbator, I got a phone call from a previous customer looking for two Shetland wethers (neutered rams) as 4H projects for their two sons. We all decided that Marty and Landen would be a lot happier as wethers in the 4H project than as little white packages in our freezer!
The following spring, at the Shepherds' Extravaganza, Shetland sheep were the Featured Breed in the Fleece show and sale. I prepared Marten and Landen's fleeces for the show and sale. Under judge Ingrid Painter (breeder of Puddleduck Shetland sheep), Marten's coal black, primitive style fleece first won best Shetland lamb fleece, and then went on to win Champion Shetland fleece over all 40 Shetland fleece entries!
As I write this, the two "market" lambs are resting on their laurels as cherished 4H project sheep, oblivious to their wins, and oblivious to their brush with becoming "little white packages."
Marten, grower of Ch. Shetland Fleece