2024 Fleece Competition & Sale

Superintendent: Carolyn Barsness
Judge: Lindsay Kurth
owner of: Kurth Valley Fiber Mill, Whitehall, WI
There were over 115 entries in the 2019 Fleece Competition (both 2020 & 2021 were canceled due to CoVid).


There are a great variety of types of fleece. For judging, they are placed in different groups according to color, white or natural colored, and grade, or fiber diameter, into fine, medium or long wools. There will also be a purebred class for each breed where the fleece is judged according to breed standards.

Many factors are considered when judging a fleece for commercial or hand-spinning value. Cleanliness is of high importance especially for a hand-spinning fleece. A little dirt is okay as it easily washes out, but burrs, hay chaff, and manure tags don’t, thus greatly lowering the value of the fleece. A clean fleece also contributes to a higher estimated clean weight which adds value simply because there is more usable wool.
Several qualities of the wool are considered. Tensile strength is important because weak fiber or fiber with a break (a weak spot in the fiber often caused by illness or stress to the sheep at some point during the year) may be torn up during the carding process ruining the fleece. Staple length should be appropriate to its class and, generally, longer length is more desirable. The crimp of the wool is what gives character and resilience to the yarn it is spun into. The crimp should be consistent throughout the fleece as well as within each lock. Each fleece is also checked for consistency of grade or fiber diameter throughout the fleece.

The “handle” of the wool refers to overall look and feel of the fleece. Luster is often considered here and generally adds value. White wools should be free of all black fiber and the whiter the better. In natural colored wools, usually no one color is better and variegated fleeces are not marked down.  Before showing, fleeces should be “skirted” (belly wool and other undesirable parts removed), then rolled with the tips facing inward. This allows for careful inspection of the wool.



There are only two main areas involved in the selection of a good fleece.

  1. Eye Appeal
  2. Handle

Eye Appeal:  This is what you see.  It’s that ‘First Impression’ that really makes a difference. I look for brightness, color and breed character. Colored fleeces should be bright, not dingy or dull; white fleeces should be white, not dingy or dull. Fleeces should be as free of vegetable matter, stains and second cuts as possible.  I look for organization and consistency; I want to see consistency in an organized crimp style, lock structure and staple length.
Handle:  This is what you feel in your hands.  A fleece should feel alive and pleasant, not dry or brittle.  It should be strong with no breaks or tenderness.  Tips should open freely and not be cemented or tender.
Try to find a clear plastic bag that “FITS” the fleece, this helps with that 1st impression thing. No big fleeces stuffed into small bags or small fleeces lost in a bag that’s too big. Remember that your customer is the judge as well as the fiber artist that buys your product, so take pride in that fleece.


A silent auction will be held for all fleeces offered for sale by the exhibitors. The seller will provide the starting bid for each fleece as a whole dollar amount.  Fleeces for sale must be pre-weighed.   No scale will be provided.
  • The silent auction will begin after judging is completed (approximately 1:00 p.m.) and close at 3:00 p.m. or the time posted at the auction.  Any fleeces not bid on during the auction, will remain for sale at the starting bid until noon Sunday.
  • Please obtain a bidder number at the fleece show registration table if you want to bid on a fleece.  The numbers will be available following the fleece judging after 1:00 p.m.
  • Silent bids will be increased by whole dollar amounts.
  • Method of payment will be cash or check (made out to Shepherd’s Harvest).
Shepherd’s Harvest Festival assumes no liability in regard to fleeces entered in the show being lost, stolen, or erroneously sold.


Entering the Fleece Show this year is online!  Please click this link for the online form.

You may enter 5 fleeces per form – you may re-enter as many forms as you need.  When you finish entering information about your fleeces, you will be prompted to click the “submit” button which will take you to our PayPal page to pay for your entry. If you feel you must pay by check, please download complete the 2024 FLEECE ENTRY FORM and send to Carolyn Barsness – email: crbarsness@aol.com

  • Fleeces must be in place by 8:30 a.m., Saturday, May 11.
  • Judging begins at 9:00 a.m., Saturday, May 11.
  • Fleece auction will begin after judging is completed.
  • Fleeces not sold need to be picked up by 12:00 noon Sunday, May 12.
  • Fleeces not not picked up by 12:00 noon Sunday, May 12 become the property of Shepherd’s Harvest.
FLEECE AUCTION: For the auction those offering fleeces for sale are to fill out a fleece registration form with the fleece breed, fleece weight and a minimum bid as a whole dollar amount (no cents). Expect the silent auction to be finished no later than 3:00 p.m.  Unsold fleeces will continue to be on display and offered for purchase at the minimum bid price until 12 noon Sunday.


  • For judging only – $5.00
  • For judging and sale – $6.00 plus a 10% commission charged on each sale.
Proceeds from premiums and the sale of the fleeces will be mailed out no later than June 16, 2024.
DIVISIONS: White, Natural Colored
CLASSES: Fine, medium & coarse
RIBBONS: Winning fleeces receive “Shepherd’s Harvest” ribbons: 1st through 3rd place ribbons in each class.
                         Champion and Reserve Champion ribbons in Natural Colored and White.
PREMIUMS: Champion-$15, Reserve Champion $10, First-$5, Second-$3, Third-$2


  • Fleece must be from animals owned by the exhibitor.
  • Fleeces must be current year’s shearing.
  • No more than 15 months’ growth.
  • All fleeces should be free of tags & chaff.
  • Each fleece is from one animal and in one bag.
  • Fleeces will displayed in clear plastic bags (available at Fleet Farm and Menards)
The judge reserves the right to
  • Move fleeces to the appropriate class
  • Close or combine classes if insufficient entries
  • Give awards to quality fleeces only
  • Offer awards of merit to high quality fleeces not receiving a place.


  • NEW – ONLINE Registration this year!

  • All on-line registrations must be done by Tuesday, May 7, 2024 by midnight!
  • Mailed Pre-registration must be post-marked by Friday, May 3, 2024
  • Entry fee: $5.00 per fleece for show only, $6.00 per fleece for show and sale.
  • Entry fees double for entries mailed after Friday, May 3, 2024.
  • Bring fleeces to the judging area in Building A on Friday, May 10th between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. or on Saturday, May 11th between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
  • Walk-in entries will only be accepted on Friday May 10th – at double entry frees.  Entries may be refused if space is full.
  • No walk-in entries will be accepted the day of the show.