We caught up with the breeder of the Grand Champion Market Lamb at the 2022 Arizona National. We invite you to read our candid interview with Junk Club Lambs below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Breeder Spotlight.”
Tell us about the breeding/genetics/pedigree of your state fair champion.
The Champion lamb at the Arizona National was sired by Unicorn and was out of a Hard Right x Kickstand ewe. Hard Right is a Crinkle x Rainman ram we purchased from Justin Nathan. This is the same mating as Cooper Jackson’s Champion Division 7 at Kansas City last year and the Reserve Heavyweight at Denver.
If you could add anything to your operation, what would it be?
I’m pretty happy with how our operation is set up. I do most of the daily work myself so I am always looking for ways to minimize labor. One thing that has really helped during lambing is the purchase of an automatic milk machine for bottle lambs. It is a huge time saver. If it was 20 years ago I’d probably say I’d want a bigger barn and more sheep but at this point I’m satisfied with what we have.
Over the last several years the use of Fresh and Frozen Semen AI, as well as flushing has evolved. How does your flock utilize AI/Flushing and if so, how has it affected your flock?
Zane Gray and I have been working together on our programs the past number of years. We both AI or flush 100% of our ewes. It has really improved the quality of our sheep. One of the biggest advantages to AIing the entire flock is that it synchronizes your ewes for lambing in groups. Even if ewes recycle they still lamb in groups and you don’t have random lambs.
Do you have a job besides raising sheep, if so what?
I retired from the Fire Department after 30 years of service. It was an exciting job at times and I’d do it again but my passion was always agriculture and raising show lambs. When I was a Battalion Chief we would have daily staff meetings with the Chief. More then once the Chief would say “Hey Junk, quit thinking about sheep and pay attention.”He was usually right.
Do you have a set time you like to have chores done by?
I always like to have a schedule. I like to do morning chores by 8 and night by 530. I’ve never been a fan of doing chores in the dark because you might miss a sick animal or some other problem that you can’t see.
Do you have a routine while choring, if so what is it?
I am definitely a creature of habit. I like to walk through the buildings before I start feeding just to make sure there aren’t any problems in terms of sick sheep or any other issues. When I start feeding I do it in the same order.
What do you think has impacted the sheep industry the most within the past 10 years?
With out a doubt it is the availability of breeders to utilize AI and flushing. No matter what size your flock is, you still have the opportunity to use the best rams in the country. If you look at the majority of state and national winners the biggest percentage are out of AI sires.
You have a week to go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
That’s an easy one. It would be Salida Colorado hunting Elk with the Ute Trail guys. If you’ve ever been in the high country of Colorado listening to the bulls bugle you’d understand.