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inside the ring

Jeff Held

What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
Over 40 years ago the Held’s 4-J’s Hampshire flock was created along with my two brothers and a sister at Oakfield, WI. By the late 1980’s the ownership shifted to my wife Mary and I with the flock renamed Held’s Hampshires. In 1990 I accepted the faculty sheep extension position at South Dakota State University with current responsibilities including extension, teaching and research programming. The flock moved with us to South Dakota and later our twin boys added a small flock of Southdowns. During the past 30 years I’ve had the opportunity to judge numerous youth and open sheep shows across the country, ranging from county fairs to NAILE open shows.

What do you enjoy most about judging shows?
In my opinion the focus and responsibilities related to judging is dependent on the type of show, youth or open show. In the youth shows the enjoyment for me is observing young people having a positive experience during the exhibition process, it should be FUN!! I expect my role includes to make the youth exhibitors feel comfortable while in the showring. On the other hand with open shows it’s a privilege to be given the responsibility to focus on evaluating the top end individuals a breed has to offer….it can’t get any better than that!!!

What is your biggest pet peeve in the show ring?
Great question!! Answer: If the show ring is too small resulting in the head to tail view line up configured in a circle rather than a straight line. As a judge it is more challenging to evaluate a class of sheep when you are surrounded with sheep.

What are you most looking forward to about judging the
All-American?

Rather simple! Seeing the shinning smiles of the hundreds of youth that are enjoying the opportunity to take part in the “All-American” experience!

What is your favorite show, and why?
Whether it’s a small local show or a major big time event like the All-American or an open show at NAILE….. they are all special! The common thread is people engaged in sheep exhibition, in many cases these are family activities that provide great joy for years.

If you could go see anyone in concert, who would it be?
From a past era – Styx

 

 

 


What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
I grew up raising and showing Suffolks, we showed at many shows in the upper midwest and sent a few head to Louisville over the years! I also helped Dew Drop Farms show and trim for a number of years. My Dad brought me to many shows and sales when I was younger and it has stuck with me to get where I am today. Currently my family shows market lambs, pigs, and cattle. That leaves me just enough time to judge a few shows, with nothing better than a good ol' breeding sheep show.

What do you enjoy most about judging shows?
I enjoy evaluating good stock that are presented well! It is an adrenaline rush when you find one you really like. But the thing that makes all shows good is the "livestock family."

What is your biggest pet peeve in the show ring?
My pet peeve is the exhibitors that are always late to the ring so they can get in one spot of the ring. I do understand that sometimes a person is farther from the ring but...

What are you most looking forward to about judging the
All-American?

The kids and the quality of sheep! Plus meeting many new people who have not heard of me before.

What is your favorite show, and why?
That's a tough one: Louisville is the "super bowl," Sedalia is a great event, MN State Fair is fun minus all the people... but sometimes the good old county fair is the best!!!

If you could go see anyone in concert, who would it be?
Not much of a concert person, would have to say Pentatonix cause the wife likes them! But Katherine said I had to pick somebody, so I would say Blackhawk.

 

 

 


What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
I am a fourth generation shepherd. My great grandfather raised Southdowns and Dorsets then both sets of my grandparents raised Corriedales. When I was younger we had Dorsets, Southdowns, and Corriedales. When I was eight my parents bought me my first Natural Coloreds and soon after we sold the Dorsets and the Southdowns followed. I currently serve on the American Corriedale Association board and am the Regional President of the NCWGA.

What do you enjoy most about judging shows?
There are two things I really enjoy about judging. One is getting to work with the youth. They are the future of the industry and I really enjoy seeing the passion the kids have for showing while still having fun. The second is getting to go through all the sheep. I've always enjoyed evaluating livestock whether it be in a pasture or in the showring.

What is your biggest pet peeve in the show ring?
Showmen that don't try to control their animal so you can handle it.

What are you most looking forward to about judging the
All-American?

Besides getting to evaluate the livestock and work with the kids, I'm looking forward to seeing the facility. Sounds like a great place.

What is your favorite show, and why?
NAILE will always be my favorite. The atmosphere around those green shavings is unrivaled to me. You can visit with all the people you only see a few times a year and compete with the best in the nation.

If you could go see anyone in concert, who would it be?
The king George Strait!

 

 

 

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