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Innes Ranch

The Innes Ranch, of Gillette, Wyoming, is the source of the single largest greasy wool purchases WeatherWool has ever made ... 2022, 2023 and 2024. Innes provided about one third of the fiber of our Batch 9, which is about twice the size of our previous-largest batch.  And Innes Ranch provided ALL of the fiber for our upcoming (Fabric to be completed in 2025) Batch Innes-1, which will be our first batch of Fabric that can trace all of its fiber to a single ranch.

Debby and I visited the Innes Ranch in July of 2022, and we thank Bob and Kirsten Innes for their kind hospitality and for the information they related to us about their sheep and wool and the industry in general.  Cody and I spent a couple of days on the Innes Ranch in late March of 2024.

If I remember right, the Innes Ranch dates back to the late 1800s, when Bob's grandfather immigrated to the USA from Scotland (where they surely love wool) and homesteaded (founded) the Ranch.

We have spoken with a few ranchers in Wyoming, and it seems the usual practice in Wyoming is to apply paint to the sheep for easy identification of ownership. When sheep from different ranches are mixed on Open Range (public land open to grazing, and Wyoming has a lot of it!), ranchers and shepherds need an easy way to determine ownership.

But for many of us who purchase fine wool, paint is a problem because it may not be removed by the scouring process, and that can cause problems downstream. Bob Innes has been mindful of these problems, and does not paint his sheep. Bob surprised me when he said he can easily tell his sheep from others just by looking. But Bob has lived on and worked the Innes Ranch his entire life -- he is about 72 as of this writing -- and so he sees things others do not.

The Innes fiber has a very strong nationwide reputation for fine wool and fine meat. They have been carefully breeding Targhee (a breed developed by the US Department of Agriculture near Targhee, Idaho) for many years. Innes sheep need to be very robust to handle the difficult Wyoming range conditions. High winds and serious cold in winter (-20F/-29C is routine, and it gets as cold as -40F/-40C) and real heat in summer (100F/38C) is to be expected. Their wool enables the sheep to withstand these conditions without shelter. 

(Incidentally, as a sort of shorthand, we often will describe our fiber as Merino or Merino-Class, because Merino is most familiar to the public.  The Targhee Breed was developed from the Rambouillet Breed, which was/is the French version of the Spanish Merino.  Our fiber standards, WeatherWool Certified Fine Wool, are quite strict.)

Kirsten Innes, on the Innes Ranch, in her WeatherWool CPO Shirt in MidWeight Lynx Pattern.

Kirsten Innes, summer of 2022, on the Innes Ranch, in her WeatherWool CPO Shirt in MidWeight Lynx Pattern. When this photo was taken, the temp was about 104F/40C, and Kirsten said she felt less heat when she put the CPO over her regular summer shirt. Wool does a creditable job of keeping heat out and providing shelter from the strength of the sun's rays. It also provides significant UV protection.

 

 

WeatherWool attended the 2024 shearing at the Innes Ranch in Gillette, Wyoming.

This is Ralph, trying to help out with the shearing in 2024, but mostly just getting in the way of the pros!  But they indulged me ...

 

WeatherWool attended the 2024 shearing at the Innes Ranch in Gillette, Wyoming.

The pros have finally had enough of me getting in the way, and Bob Innes is sending me outside.  (Not really, but he was probably tempted.)  The shearing crew is mostly men, but there were also women involved.  The lady at left is the daughter of the owner/boss, and will eventually run the show.

 

WeatherWool attended the 2024 shearing at the Innes Ranch in Gillette, Wyoming.  Here, fleece is being delivered to the Gillette Wool Warehouse

Kirsten and Bob Innes and me at the Gillette (Wyoming) Wool Warehouse with part of the Innes 2024 clip.  By the way, I'm wearing a semi-dress Shirt made from our new Batch 9 LightWeight Fabric (and I need to add info about the LightWeight to the website).  So .. the lion's share of that Shirt is Innes Fiber.  And Kirsten is wearing the same CPO pictured above.

 

12 June 2024 --- Ralph