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Shearing, sheepherding bring favorable season start for Rock Ledge Ranch

Terry Murray of the Flying M Lamb ranch releases some of her sheep to start the herding exhibition event at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site June 6. At lower left, border collie/herding dog Minette (age 3) hurries out into the field. From that point on, Minette would cause the sheep to move in different directions as a herd, following shouted or whistled instructions from Murray.
Westside Pioneer photo
       A total of more than 750 people were on hand June 6 to see sheep shorn and herded June 6 in the first annual event of the season at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.
       “I was very pleased with the event,” said ranch manager Andy Morris. “I felt we had a great crowd of wonderful people who enjoyed the ranch activities. It was a great way to kick off the 38th year of living history.”
       The shearing was handled by Bob Schroth from Strasburg, Colorado, explaining the work as he went. He pointed out that although the sheep don't necessarily like the process, they appreciate having less of a coat as the weather turns warmer.
       The ranch, which had 10 sheep as recently as 2011, is down
Bob Schroth pauses to provide an explanation to the crowd during his sheep-shearing work at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site June 6. (Note: Although the ranch is run in an 1880s style, Schroth did use an electric shaver.)
Westside Pioneer photo
to four sheep now. Morris said he may add another this year.
       The herding was managed by Terry Murray and Mike Lupow of the Flying M Lamb ranch near Peyton. They brought their own sheep to the event, along with six border collies trained in herding. Following shouted and whistled directions from Murray, a dog would guide the herd of sheep in various directions through the high grass of the field in front of the historic Rock Ledge House.
       During the day, each of the four shearing episodes was interspersed with a herding show. All the sheep got sheared before rain came in the latter part of the day.
       As for rain in general, the constant nature of which has caused scattered damage around the region this spring, Morris said the ranch has been fortunate in that regard. The site is “holding up magnificently,” he reported.
       The Rock Ledge season, which started June 3, will continue Wednesdays-Saturdays to Aug. 15. Admission is $8 for adults, with discounts for others.

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 6/14/15; Outdoors: Rock Ledge Ranch)

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