Monday, June 17, 2019
'You Have 1,500 Scared Sheep!'
The Boise Highlanders performed under a royal blue sky.
Monday, October 10, 2016


Jack Faulkner stood under a grove of yellow aspen, palm frond in hand, as he watched 1,500 sheep make their way across a bridge over the Big Wood River south of Ketchum.

“I can’t believe all these people who up to watch sheep walk down the street,” he said of the thousands of people who had watched the Faulkner sheep move down Main Street Ketchum in the annual Trailing of the Sheep Parade. “I feel like maybe we ought to have them do something—like jump over a log or something.”

"Festival organizers counted some 26,000 people at last year’s activities—some of them, counted more than once as they attended several activities. They came from 36 states and eight countries," said Festival Director Laura Musbach Drake.

The littlest Polish Highlander skipped twice the length of the parade route in between waves.

This year’s participants came from as far away as Korea and Switzerland.

A number of women from Hawaii, California and New York who call themselves The Wild Geese joined Peggy Grove and Chrissy Holloway, marking one more thing adventure off their bucket list.

Several people from Mountain Home showed up—their first time to Sun Valley.

And Dan and Susie Wilson of SuDan Farm in Canby, Ore., sat on the curb as they’ve done every year since 2009, Susie spinning wool as she awaited the sheep’s arrival.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little proclaimed Saturday “Shelby Huff Day in Idaho” in honor of the Make-A-Wish recipient.

“I wonder what the sheep are going to think when they look over and see Susie spinning wool from their brethren,” said Dan.

The Trailing was the climax to a five-day festival in which the festival’s founders John and Diane Peavey, former Sun Valley Chamber Director Carol Waller and all-around hard worker Joan Davies were honored.

“After 20 years it’s easy for anything to go stale but Diane Peavey finds ways to keep it fresh,” said Hal Cannon, who helped found the Cowboy Poetry years ago.

South Dakota resident Shelby Huff attended the festival with her grandparents, mother and 14-year-old sister courtesy of Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

The Peruvian dancers formed a colorful contingent.

Huff, 20, was celebrating her cure from a three-year battle with cancer and aplastic anemia, a blood cell disorder. She was greeted by more than two dozen Basque dancers and others at the Boise airport. She got to go into the hills north of Ketchum to see the sheep up close and personal.

She and her sister got to help herd five sheep into the pen at the Sheepdog Trials. And they rode horses and learned to fly fish.

“We caught hundreds of fish!” she said. “And “I was so excited we got the sheep penned. I understand that doesn’t happen often.”

The sheep Huff saw parade through Ketchum were very different from last year’s. Last year’s bolted down Main Street, tried to hang a left off the parade route and then turned around and ran in the opposite direction before finally running in a circle at one of the stoplights.

This year’s flock, by contrast, resembled kindergarteners sitting at their desk with their hands folded they were so orderly.

“They do seem much calmer, although a few did make a foray into the cemetery,” said the Rev. Ken Brannon, who was there to bless the flock.

“These are sheep that have seen maybe 15, 20 people all summer. They come around the bend and see 20,000, 25,000 people looking at them and you have 1,500 scared sheep!” said John Peavey.

The sheep overnighted in a sheep camp along the Big Wood River Sunday night. They’ll head south through Hailey today, get sheared in a nearby canyon and continue all the way to the Faulkner Sheep Ranch in Gooding via Fairfield, grazing as they go.

When done, they will have made a 400-mile round trip, said Faulkner.

Some will winter in California; others, on an Indian reservation in Arizona.

“Eight thousand sheep,” said Faulkner. “Forty-six loads.”


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