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


  1. Replies
    1. It's a fabulous place, nothing but majestic mountain views no matter where you look!

  2. Wonderful write-up! Can I use it for the newsletter, please?

    1. Of coarse you can. Thanks Michelle. Garrett did a write up too.

  3. Today I met Danby's new owners! Such nice people, and breeding for fine fleeces, too. Excited about having Danby in the area; I might even get to use him!


He who angers you, controls you.

And my favorite.......You can't control what others say or do, but you can control your reaction.

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....