South Dakota Hosts Advanced Shearing School
June 16, 2017

Even experienced shearers need to continue to develop their skills, which led to the creation of the Advanced Shearing School currently being conducted at VanWell Livestock in Watertown, S.D.

Hosted by Trevor and Travis Vanwell, school organizers included Loren Opstedahl (of South Dakota and an American Sheep Industry Association Wool Council member) and Mike Hagens (of North Dakota). Michael Pora - a renowned Australian Wool Innovation shearing coach and professional shearer from New South Wales, Australia - is also on hand for the school.

Designed with three distinct sections during the week-long program, the school will also benefit intermediate-level shearers. Already completed, the first section was an advanced school for professional shearers and shearing school instructors. These shearers represented multiple large shearing crews. Individually, these shearers will shear approximately 150,000 head of sheep annually. Additionally, they train upwards of 30 students per year. Pora is providing innovative shearing techniques to enhance the abilities of these professionals in refining not only their shearing patterns, but also their teaching skills.

Intermediate shearer sections of the school began on Wednesday, June 14, and again on Friday, June 16. Approximately 20 shearers are expected to participate. These shearers focused on improving their shearing pattern and better tool management.

There was great interest in the advanced/intermediate school, and organizers hope to host future schools in multiple locations to accommodate national interest.