The Grasslands Sheep Exhibition has made a return to Humboldt Uniplex for the first time since 2019. The pandemic put a halt to the province wide show which, this year, sees entrants from neighbouring Alberta and Manitoba attend for show, trials and competition.
Royce Lodoen, president of the Saskatchewan Sheep Breeders Association, is one of those producers making a return. The Sheep Breeders Association promotes the purebred and commercial aspects of the industry. The organization hosts two shows a year, one at Agribition and the summer show which has been held in Humboldt since 2017.
“We have around 120 sheep coming into the show and sale,” says Lodoen. “Friday will consist of the dog trials, sheep shearing, and having everyone coming in. Saturday will be the purebred show in the morning and the commercial show in the afternoon, and the dog trials will continue. On Sunday, we have the junior show in the morning and the sale in the afternoon.
There is an extensive list of breeds on display, each with its own distinctive qualities, explains Association Vice-President Courtney MacDougall. Among them are Dorset, Suffolk, Hampshire, Ile de France, Charolais, and many more. Animals are judged on a variety of qualities specific to their breed. There is even a competition for the fleece produced.
“Throughout the weekend, there is a fleece demonstration and competition, so we have 50 different fleeces coming that will be on display,” MacDougall explains. “We have a huge trade show component all weekend.”
One of the most intriguing components of the show from an audience stand point. Incredibly skilled herding dogs and their handlers will pit their skills against the sheep and against each other.
“There’s a senior and junior group, and the exhibitors will be working their dogs with the sheep taking them through a course, and in penning, it is a timed event,” explains MacDougall. “Then there’s also a component where they’ll break down on how to train and work with the dogs and the animals.”
On Sunday, the junior show includes a costume class, so viewers won’t want to miss out on the cute and colourful costumes on parade.
The Uniplex is open for visitors to have a look at all the animals throughout the weekend. Hours on Friday are 8:00 - 4:00, Saturday 8:00 - 5:00, and on Sunday from 9:00 - 4:00.
Lodoen says that the show is possible only with the support of volunteers, a host of invested sponsors, and those at the Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board.
“They help to organize and run everything here, so thanks to Gord, Linda, Grace and everyone at the Sheep Development Board as well.”
A full list of times and events is available at the Saskatchewan Sheep Development Board webpage at sksheep.com.