Seven-year-old Jón Haukur Vignisson unexpectedly won the highest score among non-professionals in the annual national ram groping tournament organized by the Sheep Farming Museum in Hólmavík, the Strandir region in the West Fjords, last weekend.
Icelandic rams. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Spirits were high at the tournament where approximately 200 people gathered. The ram groping contest takes place in two categories. Among professionals, farmer Kristján Albertsson at Melar in Árneshreppur stood up as winner, Morgunblaðið reports.
“Consultants come here and use the latest technology to evaluate the rams and give them points. The gropers then use their hands to try and reach the same conclusion as the consultants,” explained Ester Sigfúsdóttir, managing director of the Sheep Farming Museum.
“Laymen rank the rams and must reason why,” Ester said. “It can be funny to hear their arguments, for example, that their ranking depended on which ram bleated the loudest or whether they managed to get eye contact with it.”
“One year a contestant was able to rank the rams correctly and described them all in a poem. That was very interesting,” commented Ester.
Ram gropers are of all ages and walks of life. Among the prizes is sperm from the Insemination Center of West Iceland, which is much appreciated among sheep farmers.
The tournament marks the highlight of the summer at the Sheep Farming Museum. This year the museum celebrated its tenth year of operation.
Click here to read about last year’s ram groping contest.