Fleece Show & Sale
The Fleece Show & Sale has been a mainstay of the Festival since the very beginning 50 years ago, and has become the fleece show of choice for handspinners of every kind from all over the country. Producers from as many as 19 states plus Canada bring their best fleeces here for competition and sale. There is something for everyone and a fleece to fit every budget. Knowledgeable and helpful volunteers are on hand to help you with any questions or difficult decisions!
New this 50th year!
New Breed-Specific Class: A new class for Valais Blacknose Sheep fleeces will join the ranks of our Breed-Specific classes. As with all of the breed-specific classes, the fleeces will be judged to the breed standard as well as suitability for handspinning.
Jacob Sheep Breeders Association Special Awards: Jacob Sheep will be the featured breed at the Festival this year and the Jacob Sheep Breeders Association is offering special awards for Champion ($50) and Reserve Champion ($35) Jacob Fleeces.
Fleece Entry Options
All fleeces must be for sale.
- Show & Sale ($7 per fleece): Fleeces entered in competition to be judged and eligible for awards, and also consigned for sale (Divisions I, II and III).
- Sale Only ($4 per fleece): Fleeces consigned for sale but not judged or eligible for awards (Divisions I and II only).
- Maryland Shepherds Cup: Award for the best set of 5 handspinning fleeces from an individual Maryland shepherd/flock. Each fleece must be individually entered for Show & Sale in the appropriate Division and Class. Only one entry of 5 fleeces per shepherd/flock. No additional entry fee.
- 1. Producers are urged to be selective in choosing fleeces to enter.
- 2. Fleeces must be from the current (2022-2023) wool clip and represent no more than 15 months growth.
- 3. Maximum of 7 fleeces per exhibitor. The same fleece may not be entered in more than one class or division.
- 4. Whole fleeces only (no half or partial fleeces).
- 5. Each fleece must be skirted to ensure it is clean, dry, as free as possible of contaminants (e.g., vegetative matter (VM), chaff, burrs, manure tags and second cuts, etc.).
- 6. Minimum staple length of 2 inches. Note that 3 inches and above is preferred by most hand-spinners (as appropriate to breed type).
- 7. The Committee reserves the right to reject any fleeces not meeting standards (e.g., excessive dirt or VM; fleeces with active lice; excessively short fleeces; cotted, wet, or moldy fleeces, etc.). Entry fees will not be refunded for rejected fleeces.
- 8. Fleeces must be in a clear, unmarked plastic bag that can be easily opened (no ties or knots).
- 9. Weights must be provided to the nearest quarter pound. The Committee reserves the right to re-weigh fleeces if entered weights are questionable.
- 10. Breed designation: Breed information on the entry forms should be designated in one of two ways:
- For purebred single breed: Breed Name (e.g. Romney)
- For crosses or mixes of more than one breed: Predominant Breed Name X (e.g., Romney X). Predominant Breed refers to the breed that is either the highest percentage breed in the cross OR the breed in the cross/mix whose qualities are most reflected in the individual fleece.
- Additional details may be entered under the optional Fleece ID field and will print out on the tag that will be fastened to the bag.
- 11. Prices are set by the producers. Fleece prices will be rounded to the nearest $.25 for all cash sales at the point of check-out in order to simplify Festival cash management. Producers are urged to be reasonable in the prices they set. A summary of the price ranges for different breeds and categories of fleeces at the last festival will be added here soon and may provide useful guidance.
- 12. Entry forms must be RECEIVED no later than Thursday, April 27, 2023 accompanied by entry fee.
- 13. Entry fees are: $4 per fleece consigned for Sale Only, and $7 per fleece consigned for Show & Sale.
- 14. Producers are responsible for entering their fleeces in the appropriate division and class. Judges may not re-classify fleeces once they are delivered.
Show and Sale Rules and Responsibilities
- 15. Producers entering fleeces are responsible for picking up ribbons in the Fleece Show & Sale office anytime after 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. Premiums will be mailed to winners with their fleece sales checks.
- 16. Producers are responsible for picking up unsold fleeces (see schedule). Any abandoned fleeces will become the property of MSBA.
- 17. The commission on sales will be 10% for MSBA members (current as of April 27, 2023) and 20% for non-members. If you wish to join MSBA (or update your membership), visit marylandsheepbreeders.org/membership/join/.
- 18. The role of the Festival is to act as a broker in order to make quality fleeces of all kinds available to spinners and other fiber artists and to provide a marketplace for wool producers.
- 19. MSBA will make every effort to display and care for the entered fleeces, but assumes no responsibility for damaged, lost, or stolen fleeces.
- Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Fleeces accepted
- Friday, 4:30 p.m. – Show fleeces judged
- Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Fleeces for sale
- Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Silent auction for Special Award fleeces
- Saturday, 1:00 p.m. (approx.) – Judges discuss show fleece placings
- Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Fleeces for sale
- Sunday, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Producers pick-up unsold fleeces
Divisions and Classes
Division I – Natural Colored Fleeces
Division II – White Fleeces
All fleeces in Divisions I and II will be judged on suitability for handspinning.
Divisions I and II will each have classes A, B, C and D as follows:
A. Fine: Spinning Count 64s to 80s (17-22 microns) (e.g., Cormo, Merino, Rambouillet, etc.)
B. Medium: Spinning Count 50s to 62s (22-31 microns) (e.g., Cheviot, Columbia, Corriedale, Dorset, Montadale, Tunis)
B1. Down-Type Medium wool Show & Sale entries will be separated out for judging (e.g., Southdown, Suffolk, Hampshire, Shropshire, Dorset, Cheviot, Tunis, Clun Forest, etc.)
C. Long: Spinning Count 36s to 48s (31-40+ microns) (e.g.. Border Leicester, Coopworth, Cotswold, Lincoln, Romney, Wensleydale, etc.)
D. Primitive/Double-Coated: (e.g., Icelandic, Karakul, Navajo-Churro, Scottish Blackface, Shetland, etc.)
Premiums for each class: 1st – $20 2nd – $15 3rd – $12 4th – $10
Division III – Breed Class Fleeces
Judging will be based on breed standards and suitability for handspinning.
Division III fleeces must be for Show & Sale (no Sale-Only entries).
Premiums for each class: 1st – $20 2nd – $15
Breed-specific Classes: Bluefaced Leicester, Border Leicester, Coopworth, Cormo, Corriedale, Cotswold, Finnsheep, Gotland, Jacob, Karakul, Leicester Longwool, Lincoln, Merino, Rambouillet, Romeldale, Romney, Shetland, Valais Blacknose.
Special Fleece Show Awards
- *Grand Champion Fleece – $100 and Rosette
- *Champion Fleece, each Division – $50 and Rosette
- *The Pat Brown Memorial Award: Best Maryland Fleece – $25 and Cup
- The Tyson Creamer Memorial Award: Best 4-H Fleece – $25
- Best Uncovered Fleece – $25
- Maryland Shepherds Cup – $100
Selected Special Fleece Show Award winners (designated by * above) will be placed on a separate table following judging and will be available for silent auction bids from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday. The starting prices will be the producer’s asking prices. Bidding will close at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, and these fleeces may be picked up by the winning bidders after 3:30 p.m.
2023 Sponsored Awards
- National Bluefaced Leicester Union Award for Highest Placing BFL Fleece – $50
- Champion Leicester Longwool Fleece (sponsored by Budding Creek Farm) – $50
- Best Leicester Longwool Natural Colored Fleece (sponsored by The Ross Farm) – $25
- Best Leicester Longwool White Fleece (sponsored by Underhill Farm) – $25
- Jacob Sheep Breeders Association Champion Jacob Fleece -$50
- Jacob Sheep Breeders Association Reserve Champion Jacob Fleece – $35