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Trailing of the Sheep

A National Geographic Weekend STORY & PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK


t was a “National Geographic” weekend, said Carol Waller. Indeed, the 16th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival had all the color, culture and pageantry of that venerable magazine as Peruvians dressed in red danced in the streets, the curious sampled lamb curry served from Cristina’s giant serving plate and 1,500 mutton went strutting down Ketchum’s Main Street. An elbow-to-elbow crowd flocked to Hailey’s Roberta McKercher Park Saturday afternoon, taking advantage of warm sunny temperatures to buy Bronco blue and orange sheep Christmas or-

naments, ooh and ahh over Twin Falls farmer Kim Cohen’s newly shorn alpaca, watch Gooding spinner Anne McClain demonstrate how to use a spindle, and listen to Lonna Alexander-Steele explain how Native Americans layer alpaca wool into the soil around their corn because it holds water and fertilizes the soil with nitrogen. The four-day event designed to celebrate the heritage of sheepherding in the Wood River Valley also featured plenty of stories of the land. Rupert sheep rancher Henry Etcheverry, who summers his sheep near Lava Hot Springs and Soda Springs, related how Basques made good sheepherd-

ers because of their fear factor. They were so worried they would lose a lamb that they would climb up with the sheep and spend the night with them personally, rather than let them roam loose. Northwestern Nevada rancher Carolyn Dufurrena told a full house at the nexStage Theatre Friday night how fire had destroyed 85 percent of her family’s ranch this summer, leaving it a moonscape. But the regeneration has started, she added, with patches of grass and 2-inch aspen starts emerging through the soil. Rae Lewis of Kanarraville, Utah, described watching the mushroom cloud from atomic

testing in Nevada drift over her family’s sheep camp when she was young. We didn’t know a thing about nuclear fallout and radiation, she related. We lost half our herd and the neighbors lost 1,400 sheep. But when the neighbors sued the government they were told that there was no proof their sheep had died due to the fallout. Becky Kearns, president of Zions Resort Banking, said the bank chose to be the festival’s title sponsor after talking to retailers, restaurateurs and hotel managers. “The Kentwood where I’m staying is full,” she said. “This festival has a great economic

impact to the community.” The weekend culminated with 1,500 sheep from John Peavey’s Flat Top Sheep Ranch near Carey parading down Ketchum’s Main Street as they made their way from Corral Creek north of Ketchum toward winter pastures down south. The sheep apparently failed to hear their alarm clock earlier that morning, delaying the parade by a half-hour. It didn’t seem to faze onlookers, who sat on the curbs enjoying the warm fall sunshine. “You could be in New York watching the Macy’s parade,” said Chris Millspaugh. “But, hey, this is living history.” tws

Clockwise from above Peruvian dancers and musicians brightened the asphalt streets of Ketchum Sunday with their traditional garb. Alberto Uranga, who came to this country as a Basque sheepherder, is interviewed outside the Ketchum-Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum Friday afternoon. It was an elbow-to-elbow traffic jam on Main Street during Sunday’s Trailing of the Sheep Parade. Sheep raiser Millicent Kellogg of San Francisco began collecting sheep trinkets. Alpacas, like this little guy owned by Kim Cohen of Twin Falls, provide the warmest fibers, said Lonna AlexanderSteele. Hailey artist Kim Howard won the People’s Choice Award for the plein air paintings she did during Saturday’s Sheep Folklife Festival.

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The Wood RiveR valley 7-day WeaTheR FoRecasT is bRoughT To you by: Th e W e e k l y S u n •

October 17, 2012

Custom Signs & Graphics CUSTOM SIGNS 27

October 17, 2012  

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