Championdrive.com : Your Online Source for the Show Lamb Industry

inside the ring

Skip Anderson

What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
My involvement in the sheep industry dates back to 1990 when my family started our flock of registered Hampshires that is still in existence today and is known as Baa Baa Acres. Along with our Hampshire flock, I am currently the shepherd at North Dakota State University where I oversee the management and breeding program of a 400 head flock that consists of four breeds of sheep.

What do you enjoy most about judging shows? What are you most looking forward to about Big E?
What I enjoy most about judging sheep shows is the opportunity to see some of the very best sheep in the country and to the chance to see stock from a variety of breeders. As I come back for the second year at the Big E, I look forward to seeing and evaluating sheep from a part of the county that we typically don't see in the Midwest. Each year there is a number of elite animals from elite breeders from the Northeast that are always competitive on the national level and having the chance to sort them at the Big E is exciting and enjoyable. Plus, I'm not going to lie, being in New England and eating some amazing seafood ranks pretty high on my list when I'm at the Big E.

When it gets down to the top enders, what do you sort on/what traits do you value most?
When it gets to a close placing, I always break those ties on structural correctness and breed type. I feel that structural correctness forecasts longevity within the individual, and to me, there is nothing better than seeing a sheep that represents that particular breed with ideal type.

What is your favorite sheep that you've either judged or shown?
I have had the opportunity to judge some of very elite sheep over the years. I have had the chance to evaluate a few individuals that have gone on to be named Supreme Champions in Louisville. Those include a Suffolk ewe from Ruby Mountain Sheep Co. in 2014 and Rambouillet ewe from Dew Drop Farms in 2015. I will also admit, there is no greater feeling than being able to shake the hand of an exhibitor on the green chips in Louisville and crown a breed champion at the NAILE.

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?
If I could go anywhere on vacation I would love to go to either New Zealand, Australia or the UK to see sheep operations. Now, my wife might put a limit to the number of sheep farms we visit, but I think that would be a dream trip!

 

 

 

Steve Taylor

What is your background and current involvement in the sheep industry?
I have been raising sheep almost all my life beginning in 4-H with Montadales. I grew up showing sheep on the county fair circuit in Ohio as well as the Ohio State Fair and NAILE. In my spare time, I sheared sheep to be able to have extra spending money. After attending and graduating from meat cutting school in Toledo, I began consulting and fitting sheep professionally for several top breeders across the United States. In 1999, I married my wife Stacy and we started Jadewood Valley Hampshires. After the birth of our daughter Callie in 2005, we added Border Leicesters and today also raise Shropshires and Katahdins. Currently we run 300 brood ewes with our main focus being selling purebred frame seedstock as well as wether type seedstock and market lambs. In addition, we supply lamb for a farm to table market in Pittsburgh. I have been judging livestock for over 25 years and have had the pleasure of judging all across the United States and in Mexico.

What do you enjoy most about judging shows?
The thing I enjoy most about judging shows is the opportunity to travel around the country and see the various animals and breeding programs. It gives a person the chance to see animals they might not otherwise have the chance to see. Also I greatly enjoy the camaraderie between people in the sheep industry. No matter where I have traveled, breeders have been very welcoming and hospitable. Lastly but certainly not least however, is the opportunity to work with the youth in our industry. Anytime, I get a chance to encourage youngsters to continue and/or increase their involvement in the sheep industry I believe it is my responsibility to do so.

When it gets down to the top enders, what do you sort on/what traits do you value most?
When evaluating livestock I am very critical on structure and movement. Any animal no matter the species needs to be sound and be able to move about the ring very free and easily. Also that animal needs to be able to hold itself together while in motion. I look for an animal that runs up hill and has a lot of showring presence. An eye appealing, complete animal that can get out and go will always do well in the ring when I am judging.

What is your favorite sheep that you have either shown or judged?
I have been blessed with the opportunity to have been involved with so many wonderful sheep in my career. If I had to choose one, it would have to be a Suffolk ewe named “High Tower”. There was just something special about this female from the time she was born at Hardcash Suffolks in New Philadelphia, Ohio. I had a great relationship with High Tower and had the privilege to raise and show this female her entire career. As a yearling ewe, she was named Champion Ewe at the 1992 Ohio Suffolk Sale where she was purchased by another breeder that I worked and showed for. Continuing her career, she won the All-American Junior Suffolk show before going to NAILE where she was Champion ewe and Supreme Ewe Overall. Her career didn’t stop there however as she continued to impress in the lambing barn raising most notably a ewe lamb named “Penthouse” that sold to Tad Thompson of Indiana.

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?
It would have to be England and New Zealand. I would greatly enjoy the opportunity to see the differences in the way they raise sheep as compared to the way we do in the United States. When I was growing up, my family hosted an exchange student from England and I found the stories he told extremely fascinating. To be able to experience these differences first hand would be a great learning tool for any sheep breeder.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Championdrive.com : Your Online Source for the Show Lamb Industry
Brought to you by Novel Designs