This week is the American Dorper Sheep Breeders Society National Show and Annual Membership Meeting in Duncan, Oklahoma. I plan on attending. The sheep entered in the show will sale on Saturday. There are open shows, where anyone is able to show the sheep. Plus, there is the Junior show for those who are 18 years or younger, the future of any sheep breed.
I am not showing or have any sheep to sale at the event this year. I go to meet other breeders. Talk to others about bloodlines and see first hand what those bloodlines look like. I have learned that while they say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, with today’s skills of photoshop, a picture may not be the truth of the animal. Perhaps I am old fashion, but I like to see things for myself when I am looking at livestock, in this case sheep. I enjoy meeting up with sheep farmers who have the same goals as I do, to raise sheep that put an amazing leg of lamb on the dinner table.
The other reason to attend is the annual membership meeting. Meeting those who represent and are working for your breed is important. This gives you the opportunity to speak with them and discuss the ideas you would like to see happen within the breed and the sheep business as a whole. The meeting informs you of what those elected are doing to improve your breed.
Even if you are not a member, but interested in a particular breed of sheep, the annual meetings are to attend to learn how the breeders are promoting and improving the breed. This also gives the beginning sheep farmer an excellent location to speak to several breeders about the sheep they raise.
I enjoy watching the Junior show. I want to see what type of future the breed association has. If there are a lot of junior showmen, the breed will be around. If there are very few junior showmen, then the board of directors and membership need to work at promoting and improving their breed of sheep.
Plus, this will be a fun and relaxing event. There will be food trucks and vendors for sheep equipment. I love looking at the different handling systems and seeing ideas of layouts to perhaps implement in my sheep farm. There are a few educational seminars for learning about new ways of treating diseases and illness in sheep.
If given the opportunity and means to attend the annual membership meeting for the breed of sheep you are interested in or are raising. The information and contacts made are worth the expense.