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The Good Shepherd Fulfills a Dream
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Sunday, October 10, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Jack Sept grew up listening to stories of how his mother stayed home from her sophomore year in high school during World War II to herd sheep in the Powder River Breaks of Montana. She lived in a sheepwagon with two dogs, a horse and a 38-caliber rifle. And she didn’t think a thing about it.

And, even though he grew up on a cattle ranch just north of Sheridan, Wyo., he raised bum lambs his grandfather gave him to help pay for college.

Given that, Sept and his wife Anne Jeffery were happy to make a contribution to the Good Shepherd Monument, which emerged this week at the southern end of Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey.

“It commemorates the history, the heritage, of open range flock,” said Sept. “These sheep have traveled hundreds of miles—they aren’t raised in a pen. My mother told her story at the festival 10 years ago. Now she’s 93 and she just told me it again yesterday.”

The Trailing of the Sheep Festival Board cut the ribbon Saturday morning on the bronze monument, which features a life-sized cowboy and his horse trailing with his border collie and eight sheep.

The monument has been a dream of Trailing of the Sheep Festival Co-Founder and Flat Top Sheep Rancher John Peavey ever since he saw a similar statue by sculptor Danny Edwards in Hagerman, said John’s wife Diane Peavey.

“John has been driven by this,” she told a hundred people attending the ribbon cutting.

“It seemed an impossible mission,” added Festival Director Laura Musbach Drake. “It’s a gift to our community. It celebrates and honors the contributions of sheep families in this area.”

Hailey Mayor Martha Burke concurred: “It represents all the herders—the Basques, Peruvians and north Europeans—all who came here…giving us their rich traditions.”

Jamie Truppi took her children Avery and Aylee Ware aside, explaining how the sculpture was made of bronze so “it should last forever and ever.”

“I like how the dog is in that pose, about to jump on the sheep,” said her 9-year-old son Avery.

Sheep ranching runs in Truppi’s family. She’s been told that her family’s cattle and sheep ranch established in 1870 in Little Valley near Bruneau in Owyhee County is one of five Idaho ranches still owned by its original family.

Her mother Iny Day Truppi spent summers with 24 cousins and siblings on the ranch.

“I remember shearing the lambs with my grandpa and how the wool would go up the nose,” she recounted. “I’d jump in the bags of wool to help pack them and the wool would poof out like a snowstorm.”

She turned to the monument: “I’m just so impressed with the detail, the realism of the man’s hat, his clothes..every nuance, every muscle.”

Donors have etched words on pavers surrounding the monument celebrating everything from the Peruvian sheepherders of Lava Lake Ranch to a pair of border collies named Zuni and Zia.

One paver honors Sam Burks Sr., Jr. and III—all company managers for the Flat Top Sheep Ranch from 1933-2007. Another recounts that the Flat Top Sheep Ranch was started by banker John Thomas, a former U.S. Senator, in 1929.

One notes how “Moe Stayed with his Sheep” during the Woodhead Fire in 2020.There’s even a plaque placed by the Jewish-American Society for Historic Preservation, along with one from the American Sheep Industry.

“Walking around the pavers, seeing the inscriptions, almost brings tears to the eyes,” said Diane Peavey.

John Peavey studied a couple pavers honoring early timers in the sheep industry as the ribbon cutting crowd dwindled.

“These guys were heroes—they did it when all you had were teams of horses and sheep wagons and they went way above Stanley,” he said. “I remember going up there when the salmon were still plentiful and pulling one out by the tail. It was catch and release, even then. They were pretty beat up by the time they’d come back from the ocean to spawn.”

Norma Douglas, who campaigned for John Peavey when he ran for state senator and governor, walked around the monument, eyeing it from all angles.

“This is the greatest thing that they pulled it off,” she said. “I thought it would be a monument with a plaque. But look at it. Holy s----! Don’t make any money betting against John Peavey!”

WANT TO BE PART OF IT?

There is plenty of room for more pavers indicating support of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival. To learn more, contact info@trailingofthesheep.org or call 208-720-0585.

DON'T FORGET....The Big Sheep Parade starts at noon today on Main Street in Ketchum.


 

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