Thursday, October 9, 2008
World Champion Sheep-shearing Contest
Okay, so this is more of a pictoral blog entry than words. On Saturday, October 4th (my cousin's birthday - Happy Birthday Jennifer!) our whole family boarded a chartered bus along with 120 other NATO folks from various nations and headed about 45 minutes south of here to Bjerkreims Marken near Egersund to see the World Championship Sheep Shearing Contest of 2008. (saueklypping 2008)Nope, not a joke. It was actually a lot of fun. We were all decked out in our rain coats and wellies since it's fall and fall=rain here in Norway. We got to see contests for wool handling (that was a bit hard to follow) and then the sheep shearing. There were folks from all over the world there. This is actually the first time this contest has been held outside of an English-speaking country. There were people representing Ireland, the four countries making up the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and a few countries I had never heard of. (which is impressive because I kinda get around...) They had machine shearing and blade shearing...it was amazing...the judging etc. They had a junior division as well.
They had a bunch of tractors for on display and for sale. There was a husmannsplassen for barn (animal area for the children) where there was a tent full of hay to play in, sheep to pet...horses to ride, bunnies to pet and cows to meet. (barn in Norsk = children ... which I find humorous since my boys act like they belong in a barn quite often despite my attempts to control them). They also had a lot of food for sale and a craft fair with all sorts of things for sale...one of the huge tents was all wool stuff. That was incredibly expensive. They had entertainment (besides the sheep shearers and wool handlers...I mean singers). They also had demonstrations every now and then...one of which I (unfortunately) caught twice...sheep's head cooking over a bonfire. Delicacy here...yikes. It was right on the way to the children's section of the area. Lily handled it better than me. If you would like to see any of the "Golden Shears" awards, etc or demonstrations, there is a website : You can hit the British flag in the upper right hand corner and get it in English. The videos are kind of cool.
There was typically 5-6 shearers competing against each other at a time. They had a judge standing there as they sheared. Most had to shear 5 sheep. They were judged on speed and how good a job they did. The website has the rules. It is over 5 pages long! There is a judge in the back that confers the ruling from the first judge. The competitors wore mostly sleeveless clothes...they were sweating by the time they were done. They had special pants and special shoes on. I got a picture of the shoes above. It was really quite a big learning curve for me. One thing I can say is that sheep have very flexible necks and non-flexible legs. Most were quite docile...but some weren't. They had a lot of news cameras there and television anchors (just like a sports event...with headsets and mumbling into a mike in their own languages). What cracked me up was the sheep jumbo tron. Could I make this up? No...proof in the pictures above.
We had a good time. Never thought in a million years that I would say that I've been to a Sheep Shearing World Championship....but I have the sheep bell souvenir to prove it and a Ulla (the mascot of the championship is called Ulla - means "Wooly" in Norsk and is a cute little sheep)sweatshirt to prove I was there. One of those once-in-a-lifetime events you just have to do!:o)
Posted by Cyndi at 12:29 PM