September 2004 -- Tom Maneotis of
The acreage, which was put into a conservation program a number of years ago, has grown so much foliage and underbrush that it has become a fire hazard.
Maneotis says he was contacted by the county Extension agent about putting the sheep on the pasturage as a way to keep down the vegetation and limit fire hazard. The acreage is right next to the Steamboat Springs city limits.
Maneotis started grazing the sheep on May 15 and removed them about Aug. 1. Ironically, the area where he is running the ewes used to be a summer grazing place for his father?s sheep some 40 years ago.
?I was concerned at first about being so close to the town,? Maneotis says, noting that the area is a big draw for mountain bike riders who come to race. In addition, he was concerned about town dogs getting into the flock. However, he has not had any dog troubles and the bike racers actually named one of their July 7th races ?the Lamb Chop Run.?
Maneotis is a second generation sheepman. He
runs 2,500 Rambouillet-Columbia cross ewes on his place about 20 miles from
Steamboat Springs. His late father, a Greek immigrant, got into the sheep
business after earning enough money in the
Maneotis says he has a herder with the sheep, and the animals are brought into camp each night. He brought in a guard dog to stay with the sheep when he learned that a mountain lion had been reported in the area.
?I did not put the guard dog with the sheep at first because I did not want it to draw attention of town dogs. So far, we have not had any trouble,? he says.
Maneotis says his main operation is located
?I haul my sheep east of
He winters his sheep about 180 miles from the home ranch.
Maneotis says he has to pay more than $2 per
head for shearing, and usually markets his wool through Brown Sheep Co. in