Wool judging makes its debut at the Black Hills Stock Show

RAPID CITY, S.D. — For the first time ever the Black Hills Stock Show featured a wool judging contest that typically takes place at the National Western Stock Show. That event was cancelled and presented the BHSS with a new opportunity.

“People look at me like what? What do you mean wool judging? And I am like no, no, no the wool that comes off of sheep like we judge it,” said Jaelyn Quintana, a sheep field specialist for SDSU.

Wool judging has often been overlooked when people think about a stock show, but is starting to pick up traction with younger participants. Students at the South Dakota State University extension are trying to spread the word about wool judging competitions. To get youth involved and get more colleges to start wool teams again for competition.

“Hopefully with another contest it can kind of be a national contest we’ll just keep building that momentum,” said Quintana.

When someone is judging wool one of the most important aspects they look at for is weight. Just like with a live animal, a producer will make more money for fleece that weighs more and looks good.

Jaelyn said, “Typically your finer fleeces are gonna be used for more of your soft close to skin application. Where as your courser fleeces are kind of what we think of when we think of the bulky kind of scratchy blankets.”

To know how well the judges assessed the wool, experts in the wool field will judge the wool prior to the competition in order to know how the wool should be judged.

Jalyn Quintana also said, “They know based on the certain breed or based on kind of their ranges in fiber diameter what those fleeces should look like. And can kind of identify what they should weigh and how clean they should be and that kind of thing.”

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