Celebrating Generations

Sheep Ranching Families Wanted

Our family ranches are disappearing as surely as the carrier pigeon, with less fanfare than the leopard frog. There are fewer grandparents each year, fewer ranch kids who can afford to stay, or want to. Life is not always kind out here. But families, working together, learn who they are, what kind of men and women they will be, determined by the hardships, and the joy, of living here. Every decision has a consequence, every mistake its price.
— Carolyn Dufurrena, Fifty Miles From Home

In 2014, the Trailing of the Sheep Festival began a three-year program “Celebrating Generations.” Our goal is to listen, learn, share and save the memories of our western sheep ranching families who live and work the land and are the keepers of open space.

Photo by: Todd Meier

Photo by: Todd Meier

In 2015, we followed families into today’s hardworking second and third generations, the landowners of today.

In 2016, we look at the next and future generation. Will they hold onto the dream of their parents and grandparents or find an easier life for themselves?

And so, this is how you can help:
1. Bring your family and enjoy what has become one of the most celebrated events in America.
2. Be a Lambassador. Wear a name tag that identifies you as a rancher and says, “Ask Me.”
3. Record your story (if you choose) at the Festival with the visiting Western Folklife Center.
4. Help trail the sheep in the big Sheep Parade on Sunday, down Main Street, Ketchum, Idaho. Your family will be honored and identified by name.
5. Share your stories and pictures on our website and in local and regional publications.

One of the reasons the Trailing of the Sheep Festival is so popular is that it’s real. There is a yearning in people to believe this way of life is still possible, and we want to show them that it is.