The president comment
After 40 years, the World Sheep Shearing Championships could, for the first time, be held in France in 2019. As a result of over two years of reflexion to decide if we should or not submit our application, the team that had organised the French Shears and the 6 Nations tournament in 2013, feels motivated and able to take on the challenge. For this group, made of members from the ATM (French sheep shearers association), but not only, it becomes clear that they need to create a specific association to drive the organisation of the event. This is why, on the 8th of december 2015, we established the AMTM “Association pour le Mondial de Tonte de Moutons” (Association for the World Sheep Shearing Championships), whose head office is located at Le Dorat. The will is well there, to bring France forward, make people discover our territory, our agriculture, our knowledges… through an essential profession to the animals’ well-being, which is also a sport, yet not well known of the French people. The year 2016 had as a main objective to build the application file, to then come and present it in front of the international committee of the World Council, reunited on the 8th of February 2017 during the New-Zealand World Sheep Shearing Championships. Strengthened by the work achieved during all this year, by the whole of the volunteers involved by our side, and by all the partners engaged with us, you can trust us, what you will see will truly be tremendous! Organised for the first time in France, this mind blowing event will stay forever engraved in the memories !
Presentation of the association
It was 2013 when everything started for the town of Le Dorat, Christophe Riffaud and his acolytes. These professional sheep shearers, sheep breeders, or just sheep shearing shows addicts, whished at the time to organise the French Shears and the 6 Nations event in their town. The district is a high place of sheep breeding in the Limousin’s region. In July 2013, this incredible event spread over two days gathered 150 sheep shearers, 60 partnerships, 1800 ewes, a « wool sector village »… This small town of under 2000 inhabitants has then lived to the sound of the shearing machines, of the supporters encouragements, of the bouncing music, but also to the sparkling of the beer bubbles dancing in the glasses of 10 000 spectators! On this success and after two years of reflexion, Christophe Riffaud, surrounded by volunteers motivated from 2013 but also new persons seduced by the challenge, decide together to take on a crazy bet. They want to organise the 2019 World Sheep Shearing Championships, in France, and particularly in Le Dorat. The “Association pour le Mondial de Tonte de Moutons” (AMTM) is then created especially, in December 2015. Soon, the board of directors is formed, and the executive is voted. The association is made of members from all professional horizons, all the regions of France, but what brings them together is the motivation to get the green lights from the World Council to organise the 2019 Championships. Since then, time was counted. Only one year to prepare a strong candidacy, on the technical, financial, and logistic hand. These Championships, it is 5000 sheep to anticipate, 300 sheep shearers and accompagnants to accommodate, 30 000 persons to welcome and feed. In a country where sheep shearing is not well known, and even less as a sport, the team has a lot to do. Then, every opportunity to communicate about sheep shearing and the project has been taken. The International Paris Agricultural Show in February 2016, was the starter, followed by all the major national agricultural events, but also more local, whether they were on a region, district or commune scale. All type of public needed to be informed on that topic, both to understand what is sheep shearing but also what it’s aims are. This allowed us to present our project, and also to make them carry the message a bit further. Because this is the idea: use the word-of-mouth to transport the information, have people talking about us via all possible channels and networks. This is how the project can expand and this is how we can attract financial partners. There was the second biggest mission of the volunteers’ team for the 2016 year: find sponsoring. The team never stopped and had one appointment after the other, whether with private or public partners. And thanks to this hard work, the association ends the year with positive cash balances.