Ohio Man Sweeps Champion Fleece Honors for Third Year

Harrisburg – Chris Smith’s 60’s, 62’s (1/2 blood) combing wool topped the wool competition at the 2017 Keystone International Livestock Exposition (KILE) held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg.

The judge for this year’s contest was Kate Bostek of Fairfield, Adams Co.

Wool is judged on a combination of quality and yield. Each entry is the fleece from a single sheep and the heavier the fleece, the higher the sheep’s yield. Other characteristics include length of a staple, or lock of wool, fiber size or quality, fiber strength, purity and character and color.

Proper management helps make a good fleece, but genetics are another major component.

At the show, fleeces are separated by color, fiber diameter, and by ram and ewe. Commercial wool buyers often prefer white wools that can easily be dyed, while others enjoy the variety of natural-colored wools that range from sunburnt tans and greys to dark browns and blacks.

Pennsylvania’s wool growers are more likely to direct market their wool to spinning and weaving enthusiasts than to commercial warehouses or mills.

The 2017 competition included 86 entries from three states. Class winners and champions of the wool competition are:

Commercial Farm Flock Fleeces Division:
Division Champion: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
Division Reserve Champion: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
64’s, 70’s, 80’s (Fine) Combing: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
60’s, 62’s, (½ blood) Combing: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
56’s, 58’s (3/8 blood) Combing: Roger Bowman of Lenhartsville, Berks Co.
50’s, 54’s (¼ blood) Combing: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
46’s, 48’s (Low ¼ blood) Combing: Chad Lebo of Halifax, Dauphin Co.
44 and Coarser (Common/Braid): Nancy Weik of Warrenton, Va.
All Other Farm Flock: Terry Flanagan of Halifax, Dauphin Co.

Purebred Farm Flock Fleeces Division:
Division Champion: Robert Calvert of Mercer, Mercer Co.
Reserve Division Champion: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
Columbia and Corriedale: Roger Bowman of Lenhartsville, Berks Co.
Merino Ewe: Robert Calvert of Mercer, Mercer Co.
Merino Ram: Robert Calvert of Mercer, Mercer Co.
Texel, Cheviot, & Dorset: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
Romney, Lincoln, & Border Leicester: Lisa Logue of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co.
Hampshire, Suffolk, Oxford, Shropshire, Southdown: Robert Calvert of Mercer, Mercer Co.

Natural Colored Wool Fleeces Division:
Division Champion: Lisa Logue of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co.
Reserve Division Champion: Nancy Weik of Warrenton, Va.
Solid Black, Brown/Gray Fleece 60s and Finer: Nancy Weik of Warrenton, Va.
Solid Black, Brown/Gray Fleece 58s and Coarser: Lisa Logue of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co.
Nonsolid Colored 60’s and Finer: Christine Flanagan of Halifax, Dauphin Co.
Nonsolid Colored 58’s and Coarser: Christine Flanagan of Halifax, Dauphin Co.
Breeder Exhibit of Five Fleeces: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
Grand Champion Fleece: Chris Smith of Jeromesville, Ohio
Reserve Grand Champion Fleece: Robert Calvert of Mercer, Mercer Co.

The Keystone International Livestock Exposition is the largest livestock show on the East Coast, with more than 1,300 beef cattle, 300 horses, 1,500 sheep, 300 swine, and 375 goats in 2017. This year, more than 725 exhibitors from 27 states and Canada are competing in livestock events. The show also includes the 10th Annual Keystone Classic Barbecue Competition, a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned event to select the state's finest culinary competitors.

All events are open to the public with free admission and parking. Find more information and a complete schedule of events at www.keystoneinternational.pa.gov.

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