Sheep Shearing School
Sheep Shearing School offered by Montana State University Extension and the Animal and Range Science Department.
Montana State University Extension and the National Sheep Shearing Program offers a 3-day beginner shearing course, in March, followed by a second, advanced course. The beginner school is often attended by those who want to learn to shear their own flock, while the advanced school is geared toward experienced shearers who want to catch up with the latest techniques in the shearing business.
The advanced classes require instructor approval and previous shearing experience. People who have taken the beginner class previously can check for instructor approval before registering for the advanced class by contacting Peggy Kelley at 994-3415. Advanced students can expect to hone their skills and professional techniques.
The shearing schools are coordinated by Jim Moore, MSU Sheep Institute Extension Agent, and Mike Schuldt, Blaine County MSU Extension Agent, who will be assisted by the MSU Wool Lab staff. Jim and Mike will be anxious to share their learning experiences gained from attending a shearing instructor's class in New Zealand.
"They teach you little tricks here and there that enable you to pick up a few more sheep in a day's work of shearing," said Brent Roeder, a research associate in MSU’s Animal and Range Sciences department who has taken both classes. Even though he grew up shearing sheep in Texas, Roeder said the experienced shearers who taught the classes helped him develop a faster shearing system. Keeping equipment well maintained and positioning the sheep a certain way can save time, said Roeder, "Sometimes it's only a half inch that makes a difference."
The enrollment fee for each school is $125 per participant, which contributes to the cost of the instructors, maintenance of the shearing machines and course materials, and some meals. Beginners should plan to attend every day. Other participants may choose to attend only part of the scheduled sessions, but the registration fee will not be adjusted.
High school students wishing to take the course are encouraged to do so. Should they need a letter to document their participation, one can be provided.
Shearing is hard work that requires physical strength and conditioning. Instructors suggest that participants be prepared for the work by stretching and doing moderate exercise before attending. Early registration is highly recommended as space fills rapidly. Enrollment in each class is limited to 18 participants on a first-come, first enrolled basis. Call Peggy Kelley at 994-3415 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
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