Another trip downunder! What a great time visiting sheep farmers and working with awesome Dorper and White Dorper sheep. I left out of San Angelo on a short flight to Dallas and then had the good fortune to have a direct flight to Brisbane which is on the East Coast of Australia. Brisbane is only a few hours drive from Bellevue farms which was my first destination. After arriving at Bellevue I quickly changed clothes and headed for the sheep pens and shearing barn. This is where I found my friend from Namibia Pieter and his Aussie partner David. Sorting the "show team" and making all the final selections for the National Dorper Show and Sale. After three long days of working, washing, shearing, and loading sheep we were off to Dubbo. An 8 hour drive was ahead of us and some great scenery along the way. We even passed a little town nicknamed the Windmill City which is what my hometown of Sterling City has always been known as. Arriving in Dubbo we found everyone else had arrived simultaneously and a long line to unload and weigh show and sale sheep was ahead of us. No time to waste I headed in the barn and found John and Marion Dell along with their Aussie partners Jean, Moozie, & Andrea van Niekerk. This was my second visit to Dubbo and third trip down under and I had made many friends so I felt quite at home here. Getting over 40 head of sheep unloaded, lambs weighed for their classes, sale rams weighed, paint branded and evaluated, and then everything fed and watered was quite a chore. Lucky for us we had plenty of helping hands including a young fellow named Josh from New Zealand that has been working at Bellevue this year. All the people I've met down under seem to be so nice and happy! Show day arrives and it is only ewes the first day and a long day it was. A three judge panel did the judging independently and then scores mathmatically tabulated. The first ewe lamb class was at 8:30AM and we ended the day at 8:00PM! An exhausting day to say the least. The ram show was similar but did not take quite as long but still a full day in the show ring began at 9:00AM and ended at 6:00PM. That evening was the formal awards ceremony where Bellevue took top honors with most points in Dorpers and White Dorpers. They received so many awards they insisted the "Texan" go up and receive a couple of them. What an honor. Did I mention these people are kind? David, owner of Bellevue, took the microphone as top winner of the event and went out of his way to thank me for my hard work in the show ring. He stated that it was a miracle that I could get his sheep to stand still since they had not been handled and has nicknamed me the "Sheep Whisperer". What a laugh we had that night.
The final day was sale day and a large crowd slowly amassed in the sale barn. Many top rams and ewes sold and a few over $10,000. These sheep were going all over Australia and some to China and Brazil. With sale day over and people beginning to leave we had a quiet night at our hostess Lynn's home with dinner, drinks, and good conversation. The next morning it was off to the Dubbo airport which is similar to San Angelo in size and only 1 hour to Sydney and then 14 hours direct to Dallas. These long trips are tiring but the experience is well worth it. I hope someday you can travel to Australia and meet these wonderful people and see their country.