On Friday, May 6, 2011, six shearers from across the United States converged on a farm in Virginia to set a U.S. record for blade shearing sheep. The result: 400 ewes were sheared in 402 minutes (6 hours 42 minutes). Each shearer did one sheep every 6 minutes – shearing by hand.
The group of shearers are pictured with the 400th ewe shorn: (l-r standing) Derrick Spangler, Virginia; Doug Rathke, Minnesota; Sy Caryl, Michigan; (l-r front row) Loren Opstedahl, South Dakota; Kevin Ford, Massachusetts; and Emily Chamelin, Maryland.
The six shearers were supported by six helpers – two handling and moving sheep through the chute system – three baling the wool in a wool packer – and one helping where needed. The barn is a 52′ x 80′ multi-use pole barn, with hay storage and lambing jugs.
The shearing took place on Shamoka Run Sheep Farm, Mt. Sidney, Virginia, owned by Leo and Judy Tammi. Their farm is between Harrisonburg and Staunton, Virginia.
Shamoka Run Sheep Farm has about 500 Polypay ewes, and is an innovative alfalfa-based, forage livestock production system, using rotational grazing on several hundred acres. Leo said: “It’s my job to produce high quality forage, and it’s the sheep’s job to convert that to high value meat and fiber”.
For more information – go to this website’s “Links” tab, scroll down Publications & Resources to the article titled: Shamoka Run Sheep Farm. A video is part of this article.
These six shearers then competed in the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Blade Shearing competition on Sunday, May 8, 2011.