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April 25, 2013

Dorper Sheep Show has multiple benefits for Duncan

DUNCAN — About 250 head of sheep will be coming into town this weekend for the fifth annual Mid-America Dorper Sheep Show and Sale.

Education sessions will take place Thursday, however, the show won’t begin until 9 a.m. Friday at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center. At 9 a.m. Saturday, the auction sale will begin and following it will be the youth show.

“Breeders are coming from California in the west and Virginia in the east and everywhere in between,” said Doug Gillespie, executive secretary for the American Dorper Sheep Breeders Society. “It keeps growing every year.”

Just two years ago at the 2011 show, there were only about 170 rams and ewes at the show. This year, the society’s annual meeting will also take place here on Saturday morning, which helps add to the event’s growth.

Dorpers were initially bred in South America as a mutton sheep that develop quickly and meet a high weight classification that yields mild tasting meat.

“The Dorper breed has only been in North America for about 15 years and it’s currently the fourth largest breed registry,” Gillespie said. “It’s grown in leaps and bounds.”

The first show and sale took place in Shawnee and then in Okmulgee, however, this will be the event’s third year in Duncan. Gillespie gave credit to the all that Duncan has to offer as the reason behind the event returning year after year.

“The facilities are fabulous and the management is great to work with (at the Fair & Expo Center),” he said.

“For the buyers, it works out well because we get a lot of interest in the breed from Texas, Colorado and Nebraska, so it’s centrally located for them and Duncan has everything we need.”

Tuesday morning, Gillespie was about to board a plane to come to Duncan to get everything set up.

“It’s a great event and I always look forward to it,” he said.

This is also an event that the community can look forward to, not only for its entertainment factor, but the economic impact it has. Though those who are breeders are primarily focused on what they are here for, they do get out into the community some.

“We’re definitely going to see a sales tax impact because they will be eating at the restaurants and shopping some, especially at the western stores,” said Loisdawn Jones, Duncan Convention and Visitors Bureau director.

“Some will go to the local attractions. We’ve noticed for some events in the last 2-3 years that people will come a day early or stay a day late to spend some extra time in the community.”

The staff out at the fairgounds has been keeping busy setting up for this show, as well as other events at the facilities.

“I’ve been directing people where they need to go and they’re some of the best people I’ve ever met,” said Mike Anderson, SCFEC director. “We’ve been staying busy but we enjoy it. It’s going to be fun.”

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