By 7.15 on Bank Holiday Monday morning we had already loaded the sheep in the trailer and were on our way to Sherborne Castle grounds for the Sherborne Country Show. It was very overcast and drizzly but the forecast looked good for a day outside at the show.
Arriving and unloading is always a bit stressful. But the Portland people are helpful and the sheep were soon in their pens. Rams in one pen, the three shearling ewes together, then the two ewes and their lambs. We had a fourth pen where we set up folding chairs, a box with our white show coats, halters, feed, etc. Some shows are undercover, others line up pens in the open. We have a pop-up gazebo in case of rain but not needed today.
It takes a while to get settled. There is paperwork and registration and of course you must make sure the sheep are watered with hay bags.
Minty was first up at 9.30 with the Young Handlers class. By now the crowds were arriving and her dad and brother were there to see her get a Third. It was tough competition as she was the youngest and two young men with much more experience took first and second. So we were all thrilled when she got the yellow rosette!
The Portland classes soon started, with Older Rams first, then Shearling Rams. We placed second with Cardamon, very happy about that. We had three Shearling ewes in the next class and the judge awarded a First for our sweet and feisty little girl I have nicknamed ‘Princess!' I started working with her only a month ago, the other two had been haltered as lambs.
The judging continued until all those Portlands with a First in their class came together to find the champion Portland. And my little Princess won!
So the day flew by, sunshine and cloud, all very pleasant. Friends and neighbours stopped by to see our rosettes. We even received a Second Place ‘Wool on the Hoof’ with another Shearling. And we got another First for Family Group of Three.
Finally the Interbreed Champion judging took place, where the winner from all the different breeds compete. Princess and I lined up with some very smart looking and well turned out sheep, all standing beautifully. All the judges had a look, checked their teeth, grabbed and poked. My little girl was very impatient and naughty, never standing still. So I was completely taken by surprise when she was awarded Supreme Champion. The top prize!
This was so amazing and wonderful for the Portland breed. And the icing on the cake was the final judging for best Interbreed Family Group. We were awarded another Supreme Champion rosette!
Leading the Grand parade around the show ground was NOT the highlight of the day as Princess was fed up and had to be pushed along as we collected our trophies! But a most amazing day never to be repeated and never to be forgotten. All the Portland breeders shared the limelight as our sheep were recognised for all their loveliness.
Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.