Great Minnesota Get-Together Teaches Sheep Shearing

This Week's Animal Answers Takes us to the Minnesota State Fair

DULUTH, Minn. – When you’re at the State Fair, you can’t forget about all the animal exhibits available.

In this week’s Animal Answers, we’re taking you to the sheep barn to meet a couple who walks us through the process of shearing sheep.

“My parents fit sheep for a living and I’ve been showing sheep my whole life,” said sheep fitter Katherine Kuykendall.

In the sheep barn, Kuykendall and her boyfriend Dylan Nohner are getting ready for to show their sheep this week.

“It started when I was in 4H when I was seven years old,” said Nohner.

With an hour on the stand, precision cuts are a must for each sheep shown at the fair. Steady hands guiding scissors and combs to smooth and fine tune each sheep for one goal.

“Make them look as good as possible for the show,” said Kuykendall.

So how does one get into this profession?

“Some youth like to get involved in livestock projects,” said Kuykendall.

That’s where 4H comes in.

“That’s how a lot of people get started in showing cattle or hogs or sheep,” said Kuykendall.

It’s an organization for kids and young adults to get involved and learn more about agriculture.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for 4H,” said Nohner.

The Minnesota state fair was the launching pad where Nohner first got his start.

“I guess I just gravitated towards that, and you meet people along the way that are doing the same thing with more competitive scale and it grew that way,” said Nohner.

Now, with each cut, each sheep is a product of everything that this couple learned, and they hope others can do the same.

“We think it’s very important for the public to see agriculture and the effect on the industry,” said Kuykendall.

The couple shears an average of 15 sheep per day and will continue to show them throughout the week.

After the Minnesota State Fair, they will head to South Dakota, then Massachusetts and Pennsylvania for showings.

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