Tori Takes It On: Sheep Sheering - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Tori Takes It On: Sheep Sheering

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GREAT FALLS -

Tori Takes It On is back, and I'm not going to pull the wool over your eyes. I've never sheered a sheep before, but these guys are about to get a hair cut and I'm going to do it.

But before this Bender becomes a barber, I learned the back story behind the Cornell Ranch and what its takes to get the job done. After all, Pete and his gang have been doing this for 27 years, so they definitely know what they are doing.

So how many employee's does it take to make all this happen? Pete Cornell says, "There are three sheers, and one bailer working in the crew. And I got three neighbors here helping me today. So we basically have an eight man crew here, other than the cook that was in the house."

And with 145 sheep to sheer in one day, these men certainly keep busy. They start off by pulling a ewe out, and sheering off the fleece. Something that is a lot easier said, than done. Then the sheep is pushed back outside, and the wool is dropped underneath the platform for the bailer.

Once it was my turn to join the pros, Keith Braaton, a sheerer, gave me a little last minute advise. He explained to me, "You do need to hold them in the proper spots. Its pretty well held with your legs. Your hands are just running the machine. You're really holding that ewe with your legs. You could actually sheer a sheep with one hand tied behind your back."

Well I didn't do it with one hand behind my back, but I did do it! And for a first timer like me, that's pretty great. What else is great, is Montana's wool. Its some of the best in America and its been huge for our economy. According to the Montana Wool Growers Association, the U.S. produced $43.6 million worth of wool 2012.

So while their product is in high demand, and of course is exceptional quality, let me tell you sheering is a lot of work! But these guys at the Cornell Ranch are a team, and for Pete the benefits certainly out weigh the costs. These men work hard, have fun, and for me its been a sheer pleasure. Looks like I can check this one off the list folks. Until next time!

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