Tuesday, September 18, 2007

We have a winner!

About a month ago a very nice lady from Tennessee contacted me about sending some of my Icelandic sheep fleeces in to the Tennessee State Fair. Kim, as she is known, handles the fleece show there and is trying to develop it into one of the larger shows in the country. As far as I can tell she is becoming somewhat successful at it since it has become one of the largest for the southeast and a pretty large one for the East in general. Kim would eventually like to have as many breeds represented in the fleece show as she can---you know all those "rare" or "less well known" breeds of sheep---in addition to the "common" breeds that are at every show across the country.
Anyway---since she already had some Icelandic breeders sending in fleeces she wanted to see if she could get some more and have as large of a class as she could. So she contacted me to ask me if I would send or bring some. I told her yes I would be glad to "promptly" send some but in the end I ding donged around. Finally--days before the judging---I sent in a few fleeces. I had almost backed out of because I have been so busy however I basically promised her and would have felt kind of bad if I hadn't sent some.
So up to the Tennessee State Fair I sent a solid black adult ewe, a solid moorit ewe lamb and a solid moorit adult ram. These were pretty much the best I still had left since either 1) any other candidates were already sold and mailed or 2) the sheep had done some "dirty deed" to their fleece like scratching against the water trough and felting sections of it. I of course hoped one or two would place to pay for the shipping to the show and back to me (Kim was so very nice to offer to ship back as an encouragement for me to please send some). I was not holding my breath though. I knew my fleeces this year were the nicest we had ever had, but I wasn't sure how they compared to others. After three continuous years of vitamin/mineral work for our flock we are finally getting close to getting it right---and it's starting to show. As I said though---I didn't know how they compared to others.

Anyways, late at night this past Sunday I received a call from Kim. Good news. My black ewe had taken first in the ewe class though my lamb had not placed----the judge felt it was TOO soft to correctly represent the Icelandic breed (better that than some other faults aye?). However the ewe lamb did sell to someone :-) and would not be coming home to me. Yeah! Also, even better news my ram fleece placed first in his class AND then went on to beat out some pretty heavy competition to win Best in Show! So now not only do I get some cash for winning---but I also get a special ribbon and a "pewter" platter. Go figure. I am not even into that sort of thing-- however I am glad that my fleeces did so well.
Kim said the Judge narrowed best of show down to a Romney, a Rambouillet (which is basically a type of merino sheep) and my Icelandic ram. She said he finally said that to him my ram's fleece was just so nice and epitomized what an Icelandic should be that he couldn't not give him Best in Show. Also, Kim and the Judge both said they absolutely loved the color--she said the judge raved about it! My ram does have a very odd color---and for an Icelandic who does not carry the gray gene, he for some reason has a "grayish" almost blackish cast to his brown. Very different. Very unique.
Now just to give you an idea how big this is for him and us just let me tell you----"primitive" breeds like Icelandics, Karakuls etc RARELY ever beat out sheep like Ramboullet or Romney or a few other better appreciated breeds for Best in Show. So for a primitive to win Best in Show is a pretty big deal!

Since this ram is technically "sold"--- and to a lady who wanted to add him to her flock specifically for his fleece attributes---I'd say I represented him well AND she got a sheep that hopefully will do for her exactly what she hopes he will.
So next year we are again sending in fleeces to the fair--as promised to Kim (again)-- AND I already have the moorit ewe lamb's fleece from next year sold since it was so appreciated! How about that!
I will post a picture of my "winnings" when they get to me---which could be a week or two I was told.

Also, thanks for helping us make our booth a success at the "fair" this weekend. We appreciate it and enjoyed seeing everyone. We were one of the few booths that actually went beyond breaking even and actually made money. The town did not do it's best to advertise this year---and it showed---but luckily we did well.
I have also been asked by the lady that is running the "museum" in our downtown to 1) please come and do a spinning demonstration periodically there when the antique train comes into town on Saturdays (bringing tourist from Tennessee) and 2) to offer some of my knitted items and hand spun yarns in the gift shop.

** A quick plug for my "sponsor": SmallMeadow Farm---check out the site it is updated with fleeces, fiber and hand spun and/or hand dyed yarns. Check it out :-)

Overall---a DAMN good weekend wouldn't you say? :-D At least in regards to sheep!:-D

1 comment:

Robbyn said...

Congratulations!! I love that the primitive breeds are now giving the "conventional" breeds a run for their money and are being given more exposure...those icelandic fleeces are so beautifully individual and unique.