What follows is an announcement Trailing of the Sheep Festival Executive Director Laura Musbach Drake sent out last week in regards to comments about the lower number of sheep at this year’s festival:
“We have had several comments and inquiries about why the Big Sheep Parade presented a smaller band of sheep this year. I would like to address this so everyone can understand the true-life scenario of Idaho sheep and ranchers.
As you may know, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival prides itself on the authenticity of what we are presenting and that it is not a reenactment but Idaho living history.
This year, the rancher’s sheep who are historically in the Big Sheep Parade were displaced by fire up north and had to move south earlier than usual. There are many grazing rules and restrictions on public lands and a team of ranchers and Forest Service officials gathered to try and find a way to keep this band north to participate in the Parade, but it simply wasn’t possible and they had to keep moving south. Fortunately, another one of our local ranchers stepped in to organize a band of their sheep to participate in the Parade. (And, we were able to use the other rancher’s sheep, who are typically in the parade, at the Sheepdog Trials!)
While it was not the usual band of 1,200–1,500, there were nearly 1,000 sheep in the Parade this year. We are sorry if you were disappointed but hope you might understand how Mother Nature and climate change play a hand each year in the real-life world of the sheep, dogs, herders and ranchers.
Our Festival continues to be a celebration of the history, current life and future of the industry and we annually invite you into the lives of area ranchers to see, hear, learn and join in the living stories of sheep ranching life in Idaho.
May your week continue to be filled with wonderful memories from Festival 2022!