Michael Pope of Pope Dorsets in Greenfield Ind., concentrates on fitting his ewe before she goes into the show ring at the 2013 North American International Livestock Exposition.
Michael Pope of Pope Dorsets in Greenfield Ind., concentrates on fitting his ewe before she goes into the show ring at the 2013 North American International Livestock Exposition.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 2013 North American International Livestock Exposition brought together some of the best young showmen and women, along with their outstanding livestock, from all over the country.

One of those individuals included Greenfield native Michael Pope, who has been showing Dorset lambs at NAILE for more than a decade.

He noted that this year was his last time to compete in a National Junior Dorset Association show because he now is too old to be considered a junior member, but he will be able to continue to participate in open sheep shows.

Pope, who is a senior at Purdue University, mentioned that he bought his first Dorset lamb when he was a first-year 4-H member from a local breeder, and he and his family now raise the breed and have a flock that consists of 50 brood ewes.

“They’re cool and have taught me a lot,” Pope said, adding that one of the biggest things he has learned since being involved in the sheep industry is how to shear and fit a Dorset sheep.

Compared to other sheep fleeces, he noted, the Dorset’s is one of the most complicated because the wool is inconsistent from sheep to sheep and has separate leg and head wool.

“They’re all solid white, so cleanliness is a big issue,” he said.

Although it might have been his last year competitively showing in the junior circuit, he made sure to go out with a bang by taking home the reserve champion senior Dorset ewe banner at NAILE. “I’ve had very good success,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to competing in several open shows in the coming year.