Virginia woman in World Champs in New Zealand

For the past few years Fluvanna County resident Maggie Pessino has competed in the World Sheep Shearing Competition.

"The competitors all have to shear a set amount of sheep," said Pessino. "They'll go through and try to sheer the sheep as fast and as efficiently as they can; and they'll be judged off of the cleanliness of their sheep and how well they're shorn and how fast they were able to do it."

The World Championships are to be held in Invercargill, New Zealand. Maggie and six others from around the country have gotten the opportunity to represent the United States in the international competition.

"I'm a wool handler and so that means as the shearer is shearing the sheep I'm sorting the different sections of the fleece into different piles and then those will go into separate baskets or containers, Pessino explained. "I'm judged on the cleanliness of my fleece and how quickly and how well I'm able to organize it."

The US has seen a decrease in the wool industry, but in other countries it can be a major export.

"This competition seems strange or sort of like a novelty here, people in other countries really do recognize this competition as a big deal," said Pessino.

Pessino hoped that there will be a resurgence in the wool industry.

The competition is held from February 8 - 11, 2017.

For video of Maggie and the full article WHSV3, click here.


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