Doug Hamilton from Cedaredge was introduced as "a professional sheep shearer." Boy, you can say that again.
He's an artist the way he holds the sheep in a position that is comfortable for it while knowing how to use his shears. When he finishes the job the sheep goes back into the trailer. Then Hamilton unrolls the wool that is all in one piece. Amazing. When he fluffs it up, it looks like a sheep lying down for a snooze.
Hamilton, aided by his wife Melody, did a number of demonstrations on Saturday, May 12, at the ninth annual Hotchkiss Sheep Camp Stock Dog Trials.
The Hotchkiss Ranches provided some of the sheep to be shorn.
Announcer Les Mergelman gave out information about wool during the shearing. Wool is fire-proof. Because of the crimping pattern in the wool, it can take on 110 percent of its weight in moisture and still feel warm. Wool is a natural fiber "that has been imitated in many ways, but never has been duplicated," Mergelman said. "Wool is an important commodity in our industry."
When the shearing was done, Doug Hamilton told the audience, "You notice I go real slow. That's because I'm real old. I met the guy who holds the world championship in number of sheep shorn. He's done 747 head of sheep in nine hours."
Hamilton sheared 12 last Saturday. He shears small bunches of sheep all over the country. It could be five or 50 sheep. "My days of shearing all day are past," he said. "I sheared 207 one day. That was my best."
He laid out the wool he had just cut and said, if you do it right, it lays out in one piece.
Wool is graded and baled. It is graded by how fine the wool is. Wool fiber is finer that a strand of hair.
"Wool production is not the big thing it used to be in this country," Hamilton said. "We quit raising sheep for wool years ago in this country. When I first started shearing for the [Hotchkiss Family] wool was a competition thing . . . I've sheared sheep for them when they would shear 12-13 pounds of wool [from one sheep]."
Doug Hamilton had about five pounds of wool from the ewe he sheared during the demonstration.blog comments powered by Disqus