WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Two competitors were named champions in the 2017 Indiana State Fair sheep shearing competition, sponsored in part by the Sheep and Wool Market Development Program based at Purdue University.
The contest was split into three divisions based on the competitors’ experience level. This year’s pro winner was Alex Mosier from Lester, Iowa, and the intermediate and junior divisions went to Quinton Ackerman of Sac City, Iowa.
“Going to a contest and doing well makes you feel like your hard work in the shed all year has actually paid off,” Mosier said. “It means you are constantly improving yourself and getting better at your job.”
Ackerman said his part-time job shearing helps him pay his college expenses.
“I remember what it was like to be a 14-year-old kid, competing against guys who were 18 years old who would come and blow me out of the water,” Ackerman said. “It feels good to come out on top.”
SWMDP decided to help sponsor the competition to address concerns about the state’s increasing lack of shearers.
“Sheep producers who raise wool breeds of sheep must have them sheared at least once per year,” said Ken McMichael, SWMDP president. “Every year the number of shearers decreases while demand for their talents increase. The SWMDP wanted to draw attention to this valuable profession through the shearing contest at the Indiana State Fair.”
The annual competition is intended to inspire beginning shearers and encourage others to start shearing, while promoting the sheep and wool sector to fairgoers. Announcers provide background information about shearing, such as the fact that getting sheared is painless for sheep.
“The SWMDC offers small incentives to Indiana shearers to compete in the contest,” McMichael said. “We are very pleased with the growth in participation, especially in the number of young shearers.”
The SWMDP encourages anyone who has ideas about how to promote shearing to submit them to the program website: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/sheepwool.aspx.
The Indiana Sheep and Wool Market Development Program, administered by the Office of Agricultural Research at Purdue University, is tasked with supporting educational, promotional and research efforts involving sheep in the state. Funds are collected from the sale of sheep in Indiana — 0.5 percent of the net market price of each sheep sold. All funds collected by stockyards, sale managers, producers and others should be sent to the council’s business office at Purdue. More information is on the program’s website: https://ag.purdue.edu/arp/Pages/sheepwool.aspx.
— Purdue University