Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Clearing up some lies

Estes Park, Colorado

We had a fantastic week in Estes Park at the fiber festival held there June 11th & 12th.  We meet some new people, reconnected with some old friends and aquantainces and just really had a great time.  Our 1st ever FFSSA sponsored show was held in conjunction with the Estes Park Wool Market and everyone was so easy to work with and friendly that we vowed we'd be back!  
We had no idea there was someone there that would say or do anything to discredit our sheep, our wins in the show ring, our judges and our integrity.  I'm not going to name this person, it's not really my style to do that, but I do want to make it clear that a lot of what she's is saying is either skewed for her own agenda or an outright fabrication.   I have all the comments from the Heritage Facebook page, so I know the intent wasn't changed nor the wording.  

1) First on the list is the accusation that our judge, Jim Chastain, sponsored the show.  He did not.  His ex-wife sponsored 2 classes and he wasn't even aware she'd done so until he showed up at the fairgrounds on Thursday night and I told him.  Complete fabrication. 

2) Jim did not speak to this person, she claims he told her he was judging on fleece only.  Jim spoke to the exhibitor of one of the sheep that was shown and that exhibitor said why her sheep wasn't placed higher.  The exhibitor said: "his words were.... it was hard to place sheep who were sheared where he couldn't see much fleece"
He stated several times during the show that he judged on structure, but the fleece weighs heavily in his decision because it's a big part of the sheep's value to those making a living from the Shetland Island.   He also said structure weighs heavily because he considers them a dual purpose breed for the same reason the wool is important, the Islanders have to be able to have a good carcass animal.  The statement posted on FB stated that "he said he didn't place her higher because he was only concerned with the fleece."  By inserting the word "only" the meaing of that comment completely changes.  Half truth. 

3) The classes were not placed largest to smallest in the FFSSA show nor in the Classic show on Sunday.  Jim did tell the exhibitors that judging lambs that are so young is really difficult, especially when the lambs are put up against adult sheep that have matured into what they will be for sheep.  Complete fabrication. 

Here is a shot of the placing from right to left for the ram class on Sunday.  Does this look like sheep being placed from largest to smallest?  

Here is a photo of me and my black ewe in the champion drive class on Sunday.  Solace won Grand champion that day, does she look like the biggest sheep in that class?  She is approx. a 50# yearling ewe.  (2 jacobs-very nice one, are in the row in front of us)  
This is the FFSSA show Champion.  A yearling ewe that weighs approx. 50#'s, does she look like the largest sheep?  
This is the Champion ram and reserve champion of the show.......does this look like it could possibly be the largest sheep in the show?  BTW-he was placed ahead of a 2 year old ram that weighs 125#'s and one of the older lambs, so he was better able to determine what this ram might be as he matures.

The insinuation that overly large animals were chosen as the best examples is false and clearly was said as an attempt to discredit our show, our judge, the exhibitors and their sheep.  Making that statement insults every person that won a ribbon, it's saying that their sheep are only winnning because they were big.  In my opinion, it's a slap in the face to everybody that participacted in the show and I'd like to publically apologize to everyone for any insult this might have caused  the good hearted folks that showed up to support our show.  

4) It was stated by this same person that they congradulated myself, Garrett Ramsay on our success in the show ring........that is a complete fabrication.  I have never met this person and am only guessing that the person in a few of our photos is this person because someone said they spoke to her briefly.   I would never, ever snub anyone and would never be unkind or dismissive.  Anyone that has ever met me know that I don't have to agree with you to be kind and friendly.  That being said, I do get quite upset when there are personal attacks on myself and others that are not based in fact, but simply fabrications to further an agenda.  
5) Speaking of was suggested on the Heritage FB page that FFSSA and our members have an agenda.  Well, at least that was accurate, we do have an agenda and that agenda is to promote and educate, mentor and support breeders that breed 1927 Standard Shetland sheep.  We've been pretty clear that's what we do, so I don't know why it's a shock to anyone.  The person making all thes false accusations said she overheard us saying (in an unkind way) that Tracy Hoffman was trainable and yes, we did say that, but we were talking about training him to be a Shetland judge versus a livestock judge.  We felt he was open to learning the finer points of Shetland sheep and not just placing them according to size or the amount of wool they carry around.  THAT is what we were talking about, and if you had walked up and asked us, we would have told you that.  We all know the damage that has been done to the Shetland breed from judges that aren't trained and know nothing about the 1927 Standard, so yes, we felt he was a good candidate for showing him more and a lot of his research was done in his hotel room on the interent on Saturday night because he said he wanted to do right by the Shetlands. 
6) We do not "Want to take down NASSA"!!!  We believe that there are breeders that simply want to breed for the fleece types they accept and have no issue with this at all!!!   We have never had a take down on our agenda, never will, so please stop spreading this vicious lie.  Raise and breed what you want, but stop attacking us and then making it look like you are being attacked, it's sheep people.........SHEEP!    It's not about money and sales, if I wanted to make money, I wouldn't be picking Shetland sheep as the breed to make a profit, so let's stop making that accusation.  Most of us breed 20 or less ewes a year, we don't do it for the money.  Good ridiculous.  

In closing I'd like to express my extreme disappointment that someone finds it necessary to go to such lengths to insult the integrity of so many people and their sheep.  We are not out bashing NASSA, there are a lot of our friends and great folks in NASSA.  We are not our there bashing this person's sheep or her decision to raise them.  We are at home, enjoying our sheep, our choices and promoting them in order to educate others.  It would seem that has painted a target on our backs and I had hoped the attacks on the Heritage page would subside, instead they have escalated to outright fabrication and at best, half truths.  A line has been crossed when you question a person's integrity and I wanted to address the statements because I feel this is a diliberat attempt to do harm to my flock success and the success of FFSSA.  

Thank you to all those that supported our show and conintue to support what we do.  

Respectfully submitted,

Kelly K. Bartels

Monday, June 20, 2016

Estes Park FFSSA Show 2016

What a trip!!!  Estes Park, CO
What a great place to have a show....the views are so spectacular in any direction that you simply can't find fault with anyof them.  What a wonderful venue with great folks running the event, we were treated so well by everyone that I look forward to more years of doing a show at Estes Park Wool Market.
Mandy Younger, Debbie Powers and Holly Younger

Jared & Beka Lloyd

Finch Hill Farm's amazing farm display put all of us to shame!!!

Debbie Powers Farm display

Russ & Terry Dukerschein's farm sign

I'd like to thank so many people, starting with Garrett Ramsay and Debbie Powers, my fellow show chairpersons, the show wouldn't have been possible without a collective effort.   Thank you to all the exhibitors and to those that drove so far to support FFSSA!  Russ & Terry Dukerschein, Mary Limpus, Garrett Ramsay, Debbie Powers, Jared & Beka Llyod, Holly & Mandy Younger and Grace Corrette.    I'd also like to thank all the folks at Estes Park Wool Market for their kindness and cooperation during our settling in period at the show this year.  The show is never about one person contributing and we are grateful to everyone for helping make this show a success.  A huge thank you goes out to our Judge, Jim Chastain, your generosity will not be forgotten.

Jim Chastain

Jim Chastain, our judge for the FFSSA show on Saturday, drove all the way from Oregon to judge our sheep and did it all on his own dime.  His generosity is humbling and exceedingly helpful in continuing our mission to educate and mentor breeders striving to adhere to the 1927 Standard-Appendix A Shetland Sheep in North America.  Jim explained in detail why single coats with fine, crimpy wool is THE type of Shetland that Islander strive to preserve.  The finest of the wool breeds should not be coarse, should not have coarse outer coats and should exhibit the traits that help it survive on the Islands for decades.  He did say that all of us need to work harder to keep the wool on the poll of our sheep, and felt most of the sheep there were too slick-headed (his terminology) for Shetlands.  Another area he'd like to see improved is the depth of the sheep, or width of their chest and hips, which would have to be proportionate to the overall structure of the sheep to maintain balance.   We could use a bit more width in several of our lines, so I'll be working on depth and wool on the poll in the coming years.
Jim has been to the Islands 14 times, at times he's spent months staying with Islanders and soaking up their history and knowledge.  I am fairly confident that he might know what he's talking about when he discusses what is acceptable for a proper 1927 Standard Shetland and what is outside the perameters of what is acceptable.  I am happy with his evaluation of our sheep, where he placed them and am in agreement with him on those choices.

One of Dukerschein's Granddaughters

When we asked him about how he made his choices, he indicated that it was very tough to judge the smaller lambs because they haven't matured enough to compete with the more mature sheep.  He also said that it was hard to place a sheep that didn't have any fleece growth to evaluate, and since the wool is such a big part of the Shetland sheep's worth, it weighs heavily in his decision.  Jim made sure we knew that he places them only if they display a good overall, balanced structure with strong breed typical charactericstics, so the wool isn't the deciding factor, but simply a factor to consider for the entire package.
Jim Chastain  with
Debbie Powers and her Champion Ram
During the judging of the fleece show Jim gave a lot of feedback about each fleece.  The top 3 winning fleeces were excellent examples of 1927 Standard Shetland wool and Jim said he was pleased with the overall quality of the fleeces put forward.  He did have a few fleeces that were coarse and he indicated that they were not 1927 Standard Shetland, although he was blunt, he wasn't trying to be unkind but simply wanted to let the breeder know what was acceptable and what was not for the Shetlands that follow the 1927 Standard.

It's important to remember that the 1927 Standard is not simply a suggestion, and not following it is ok if you aren't breeding and registering Shetlands,'s not a preference, a preference is what flavor of lemonaide you order when eating out at a resturant.  If you are going to breed Shetlands that will stand up to inspections and judging by qualified judges and inspectors, you must adhere to the 1927 Standard, period.  That being said, nobody has a perfect sheep, we are all only striving to breed towards the best representation as possible.  Shetlands with coarse wool are not meeting the 1927 Standard, I heard it when I visited Shetland in 2013, I have heard it from every UK judge & inspector that has visited us in the last 4 years (7 judges total) and Jim told me the same thing.  I would never even consider telling the folks on Shetland and in the UK that the sheep they sent here several years ago is not the correct type, so I defer to their experience and knoweldge and try to breed sheep with soft, fine wool.
Jim w/ Solace and myself
Best Fleece on Hoof

We had another judge express interest in learing more about Shetlands, Travis Hoffman, the judge hired by Estes Park to judge the open sheep show and classes spent a great deal of time on Saturday talking to us and to Jim, then looking over the sheep and going to his hotel and doing more research online on Saturday night.  He came back to the festival on Sunday prepared to do right by the Shetlands, as he indicated to us that he's always felt the Shetlands should be finer than the ones he's judged in the past.  He told us that our sheep were more in line with what he'd call the "finest of the British breeds".  Encouraging news from a sheep judge outside Shetland sheep circles!!!  Jim felt that Travis did an excellent job of judging the Classic Wool show on Sunday morning, so we are encouaraged that we may have found a new person to judge among livestock judges.

Classic Show yearling ewe line up: Mike & Kelly Bartels
With 1st, 2nd and 3rd place

This show gave us exposure and advertised our sheep and product better than any amount of ad space we could have purchased in periodicals or online.  The interaction and hands on show casing of our sheep and products spoke volumns for what we have to offer, our sheep, yarn, raw wool, etc. was very positively received.   We handed out a lot of business cards and brochures, so hang on folks......the ride is about to begin.

FFSSA Sheep Show Results:

Youth Showmanship (4)
1st Place: Sara Schwartz-Glen Tamarack Venus
2nd Place: Mandy Younger-Finch Hill You Rock My World
3rd Place: Billy Schwartz-Glen Tamarack Garnet

Youth showmanship

Adult Ram (6)
1st Place: Mike & Kelly Bartels-OK Acres Danby
2nd Place: Debbie Powers-Shet-Tu Balsam
3rd Place: Debbie Powers-Shet-Tu Palmer

Ram Lambs (7)
1st Place: Debbie Powers-Shet-Tu Peanut Butter
2nd Place: Mandy Younger-Finch Hill Odyssy
3rd Place: Debbie Powers-Shet-Tu Samoa

Champion Ram: Debbie Powers w/ Shet-Tu Peanut Butter

Adult Ewe (12)
1st Place: Garrett Ramsay-White Pine Orthia
2nd Place: Mike & Kelly Bartels-Sheltering Pines Solara
3rd Place: Mike & Kelly Bartels-OK Acres Sedona

Ewe Lambs (8)
1st Place: Debbie Powers-Shet-Tu Fudge
2nd Place: Debbie Powers-Shet-Tu Chocolate Chip
3rd Place: Mandy Younger-Finch Hill You Rock My World

Champion Ewe: Garrett Ramsay w/ White Pine Orthia

Best Fleece on Hoof (4)
1st Place: Mike & Kelly Bartels- SP Solara
2nd Place: Garrett Ramsay-White Pine Orthia
3rd Place: Debbie Powers-Shet-Tu Peanut Butter

Best Small Flock (2)
1st Place: Debbie Powers
2nd Place: Mike & Kelly Bartels

Grand Champion/.Best of Show: Garrett Ramsay w/ White Pine Orthia
And our Grand Champion Garrett Ramsay with
White Pine Orthia
(also Champion Ewe) 

FFSSA Fleece Show Results

Best Rooed Fleece (7)
1st: Debbie Powers
2nd: Mike & Kelly Bartels
3rd:Mike & Kelly Bartels

Adult-all ages (5)
1st: Debbie Powers
2nd: Kelly Bartels
3rd: Russ & Terry Dukerschein

Adult Colored (5)
1st: Debbie Powers
2nd: Debbie Powers
3rd: Jared & Beka Lloyd

Lamb Colored (10)
1st: Debbie Powers
2nd: Russ & Terry Dukerschein
3rd: Russ & Terry Dukerschein

Champion Fleece: Debbie Powers (white)

Judge Jim Chastain and Debbie Powers sweeping the fleece show!!!
Champion Fleece!!  Way to go Debbie.  
Other random photos:
Crowd shot..........

Our generous sponsors!!!!

Our FFSSA display table

Jared and some of his flock

Holly & Mandy Younger with their flock

Mike and I

Mike and I
Mike and I at Nick and Emily's wedding

Raised beds & chickens coops

Raised beds & chickens coops
Can't wait for this stuff to actually be food....