Johnny Flinchum, 12, of Longmont, Colorado, cards one of the four Dorsett sheep his family brought to the Midwest Stud Ram Sale on the Missouri State Fairgrounds Monday morning. The show began Monday and continues through Saturday. Flinchum said he has been coming to the event as long as he can remember and this is the second year he brought one of his own Dorsetts to the sale. Carding helps to straighten the wool, which makes it easier to cut and trim, Flinchum said. He added that, according to his father, the best fitters in the world card the most.
Kelly Maddox smiles as she gently positions the head and face of a Southdown into a support before fitting the sheep. Maddox, along with her husband, was one of three generations of the family to attend the Midwest Stud Ram Sale at the Missouri State Fairgrounds, which began Monday and continues through Saturday. The couple own a flock of 70 sheep, according to Maddox’s father-in-law Jim Maddox. “The great thing about this event is that we meet all kinds of great people who we may only see once or twice a year at these events,” he added.
Sara Kuykendall carefully trims the wool on the head of a Dorsett sheep owned by Paul Wissinger, of Wisconsin. Kuykendall and her husband, Kevin Kuykendall, have been fitting sheep for more than 40 years.
Ben Annuschat works on fitting one of his Suffolk early Monday morning on the first day of the Midwest Stud Ram Sale hosted by Heartland Livestock Services on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. Annuschat said he had been coming to the event for the last 11 years, coming for the first time when he was 10 years old. Noel Olson, a professional fitter from Oklahoma, was helping Annuschat with the fitting.
Lisa Hubbard washes a yearling Hampshire outside the Swine Barn on the Missouri State Fairgrounds Monday morning. Hubbard said she and her husband, from Agra, Oklahoma, had been attending the event for more than 20 years. Hubbard was using Dawn dish washing soap to work up a good lather, explaining that it was one of the best products they had found for bathing the animals. “Where we live there is a lot of red clay and this is the best thing we’ve found to cut through that,” Hubbard said. It takes about 45 minutes to really get them good and clean, she added.
A horned Dorsett rests peacefully in his pen at the Swine Barn on the Missouri State Fairgrounds under the cool breeze of a fan. After being bathed and fitted (groomed), many owners choose to put hoods and cloaks on their sheep to keep them clean and ready for show. The Midwest Stud Ram Show began Monday and continues through Saturday.