Friday, October 07, 2016

Trailing of the Sheep: 1,500 sheep parade highlights Ketchum festival

Sheep shearer John Balderson spends 300 days a year on the road, shearing 30,000 sheep a year. He gets $4 a sheep, but black sheep are not worth even the bag their fleece is bagged in. “Their fleece is coarse and ranchers don’t like having their black hairs mingling with the white, although there is some use for it in insulation,” he said. “Black sheep are outcasts. That’s where the term ‘black sheep of the family’ comes from.” Balderson is just one attraction among many in a five-day festival that celebrates a way of life that is still going on as sheepherders move their flocks from summer pastures in the mountains to ranches in the Magic Valley and Carey areas. A 20th anniversary Celebration and Sheepherder’s Ball on Saturday night will honor the founders of the festival, while serving up hors d’oeuvres, musical performances and a Sheepherder’s Ball featuring Hot Club of Cowtown of Austin, Texas. The culmination, as always, is the Trailing of the Sheep Parade at noon Sunday where 1,500 of Gooding rancher John Faulkner’s sheep will follow Basque dancers, Scottish bagpipers and others through town in front of thousands of cheering people...more

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