In the rear view mirror...
The sheep show and 1st annual fibre festival at Neepawa was fun. It was also cold, wet, and windy. The professor and I got up at 6 am so we could be driving to Neepawa by 7:15. When we got there around 9:30 am, the professor caught photos of a lot of the action. Here are a few of the photos he's sent along for our enjoyment.
There were sheep shearing demonstrations off and on all day. This shearer also managed to come to my class on "Marketing Your Wool." He has both Rambouillet and Cheviot sheep on his farm and we had a good talk while walking from one building to the next in the rain. I'm looking forward to talking with him again sometime when we are both a bit drier!
The festival was mainly organized by the 4H group, called the Prairie Shepherds of Manitoba. The sheep ring was very busy, with lots of kids showing and competing with their "meat" sheep. The sheep in the competition seemed to be mainly Suffolks. Of course, these sheep have wool too and it can be useful for the handspinner, but the emphasis here veered away from wool. That is something I can perhaps go into in another post, as I definitely have more photos from the competition!
Meanwhile, there were stockdog trials going on outdoors in the mud and rain. The professor took up a position along the fence and shot lots of photos of dogs and sheep in motion. Here's an example of the conditions. The dogs included border collies, and Australian cattle dogs, among others. This show was particularly interesting because the dogs were allowed mostly free reign when they weren't running the sheep and behaved themselves admirably. For the most part, these are working dogs and they didn't appear to bother any sheep or people when off-leash. It was a joy to see this.
Meanwhile, I was giving a talk and doing a couple other things at the event. To my amazement, my talk was a media attraction. I was interviewed for a radio station "spot," my class was taped for a cable access channel, and I was interviewed for a newspaper. I found the whole thing pretty surprising! (In retrospect, if I'd only known, I'd have combed my hair down a bit better. It gets sort of big and curly in the rain.)
The professor caught a photo of the classroom with the film crew setting up before my class really got underway. He says that at one point, every chair was taken, but I sort of lost track after a while. I found the clip-on microphone and the attention a bit distracting. Every photo seemed to catch me with another alarming expression...
This one is hands-down my favorite. Note the border collie (named Juno) at the front of the photo. This dog was a real lover and attended my whole class!
The fleeces I saw in the competition and the events were really very impressive. Considering the cold, wet, and windy conditions, it even seemed reasonably well attended. I'll write more about the spinning circle in my next post, but it was definitely a worthwhile day. The professor and I had to return home in the afternoon to our house guests, so we missed the lamb barbeque and other events. Also, my feet (in their handknit wool socks) were soaked clear through and I was ready for a hot shower and warm jammies at home. Even so, it was well worth the trip.
More to follow in my next post when I can grab a few more spare moments...