We caught up with judge Miles Gibbs before he steps “Inside the Ring” at The Show in Reno. Learn more about Miles below…
Who’s your biggest influence in evaluating livestock?
My dad, Prater Gibbs, just a stockman, he had an engineering mind, and could read the mechanics of a skeleton. He did it with 40 ewes and no AI game! He instilled in me “our type” and our success cemented that as my default.
Larry Shell (beauty) and Storm Gerhart (beast), those gentlemen were predictable and consistent in their own fashions, and both had breeding programs that reflected their vision. I appreciated both of them for making “their kind” and gravitating to those in the ring. It taught me, as I learned the craft of sorting, to be true to myself.
What do you look for when evaluating?
My default, a muscular, athletic sheep, that’s smooth enough to have balance and eye appeal. That’s cookie cutter enough to match 99% of evaluators isn’t it? lol
If down to the last few, what will be your sort?
At the end, giraffe fronted, rhino back and booty.
Hate bad hocks, hate narrow tail heads, hate low neck sets and low fronts. Hate cages that are bigger than their hip structure!
Do you prefer to evaluate when sheep are in motion or stuck on profile?
Both are important, or we would just tie them to the fence, and sit in lawn chairs.
Tell us about your family!
We live in Val Verde County on the Pecos River. My wife, Heather and I have been fortunate to raise our daughter, Pasch (5th generation) here. She gets to see the livestock world from a very different view point. We raise commercial hair sheep, Spanish goats, and Corriente cattle. Everything here, plant or predator works for Darwin. We raise stock on the range and durability is paramount! It’s a great teacher.
What’s one show you look forward to every year?
I probably don’t have just one favorite. I do enjoy Reno, the venue and weather will usually draw out some wolves!
In your mind, how has the industry changed in the show ring over the last 10 years?
I think some worry about the alphabet more than we should. I think some worry about boot wool and the color of that wool more than we should.
We had muscular sheep decades ago, with fewer skeletal defects.
Today, I see them as bigger boned, wider, thicker and stout, more oven, which is perfectly fine with me. That’s where my father wanted our own sheep years ago. So the thoery hasn’t changed in my head in forty years!
I do worry about the skeletal integrity that has followed that hard press. Straight blades and hocks. Short, bulldog necks, sheep that walk down hill. All of the negative traits that come with the juggling of the D gene.
As a whole, I like a lot of sheep today. I think it’s always going to be the experiment of improvement. We learn, we more forward.
We caught up with showmanship judge Miles Gibbs before he steps “Inside the Ring” at The Show in Reno. We invite you to read our candid interview with Miles below and please continue to check back often for our next edition of “Inside the Ring – Showmanship Edition.”
Do you like when kids show down on their lamb during showmanship?
I think you show your sheep to accentuate his positive traits and diminish his faults.
I like them Okie’d when they are good looking from the side.
In your opinion, What’s the most crucial thing to do in showmanship to succeed?
Sell your Sheep!
I’m the buyer, sell him to me!
Hide his problems, sell his greatness!
It’s that simple.
Do you prefer kids who get low on their sheep or stand up more when bracing?
I don’t really care what your style is: “Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon”, “The Matrix”, or just ol’ fashioned “The Natural”. If your a contortionist and you get him stuck, you win. I personally want to evaluate the stock. So drawing my attention to “you” instead of your stock is not how I was raised. When I grope his back and try to analyze him for carcass merit and fat deposition, I want him on the muscle and stuck.
What ever your style, sell me the sheep!
What’s your opinion on kids who make noise to get their sheep to walk?
A few mild ques are fine. Constant verbal and physical ques become distracting. It says “my sheep is lazy or wild and we didn’t get this fixed at home.”
What’s your words of wisdom to the kids before you step in the ring?
Hit the ring like your going to war! Not with other showman…with yourself! When you do your job, everything else takes care of its self. I don’t want “hate in your eyes” but I do like a competitive aire, a level of intensity that says “I’m serious”.
What do you look forward to most about your upcoming showmanship judging experience?
Trick Question. Next…