Idaho and the Artist
Story and Paintings by Bev Stone
I had my first opportunity to see the Trailing of the Sheep Festival a few years ago when Andrea and Tom Rich, good friends of mine who have a long history of sheep ranching in Idaho, suggested I make the trip to Ketchum in October.
The Riches have been involved in raising sheep since 1914, when R.C. Rich rode his horse into the hills from Blackfoot, wrote a contract on the back of a blank check, and bought the sheep and everything else he needed to start ranching.
Thinking about a painting that would involve sheep in a downtown setting was very appealing to me, but Andrea really piqued my interest when she told me that as the sheep parade through downtown Ketchum, they are blessed by a priest instructing them to “Go forth and be the best little sheep you can be.” Always on the lookout for artistic inspiration, I knew I had to see that.