Sheep to Shawl Champs on a Winning Streak

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NORTHUMBERLAND -- There are many different competitions throughout the eight days of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, but one of the most popular is the "Sheep to Shawl" contest.

A team from central Pennsylvania has now won the competition for five years in a row and some of its members spoke about their success.

"Sheep to Shawl" is exactly what it sounds like-- shearing a sheep and weaving the wool into a shawl right before your eyes. It has become a popular competition at the farm show and a team known as Time Warp, based in Montour County, has won for five straight years.

"We can't believe it. We were stunned. We're always surprised when we do well," said Libby Beiler of Washingtonville.

"I thought last year's picture -- when we won with our mouths hanging wide open -- would have been our last one, but here we are again," said Jeff Johnstonbaugh of Northumberland.

Newswatch 16 spoke with Beiler and Johnstonbaugh from team Time Warp about their big win. There are six humans on the team and one carefully chosen sheep. Both Beiler and Johnstonbaugh say 2-year-old Claire may just be the most important member of the team.

"We build our shawl design around that animal and the sheep that we take has to meet a certain criteria for us. Her wool has to be very workable," said Beiler.

"This is a dramatic look. With Claire's dark black fleece it just stands out. Stunning," said Johnstonbaugh, referring to the winning shawl.

After the competition, the farm show auctions off all of the shawls. This one sold for $2,900.

"The highest price that we had sold one for in the past was $2,700 so this one was by far a record breaker. It was amazing," said Beiler.

"We are more of a family than we are a team, and that makes it great," said Johnstonbaugh about their five-year winning streak.

The team says it started discussing next year's Sheep to Shawl competition on the ride home.

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