Ireland needs shaggy sheep for ‘shearing Olympics’

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 23, 2008 file photo, sheep graze near the recently closed Tower Colliery coal mine near the village of Hirwaun, Wales. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

DUBLIN (AP) — Do you own a shaggy sheep? Ireland needs ewes.

The Irish require at least 6,000 sheep as hosts of this year’s Golden Shears World Championships. But they’re more than 1,000 short with just weeks to go before an event dubbed “the Olympics of sheep shearing.”

Organizers said Monday they need ewes, aged 12 to 14 months, to ensure that all competitors are supplied similarly shaped sheep. Prices for such animals in Ireland are running high, and farmers are under pressure to sell them before the May 22 start of the four-day competition in Gorey, south of Dublin.

This year’s event features competitors from 38 countries from China to Chile, including defending champion shearer Gavin Mutch of Scotland. Ireland previously hosted the 37-year-old contest in 1998.

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