Caveys are honored as Shepherds of the Year

Staff Writer

FREDERICK, Md. (Nov. 15, 2016) — Liz and Gary Cavey of New Windsor, Md. in Carroll County, were named the Shepherds of the Year at the annual dinner meeting of the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association on Oct. 21.
The Caveys have had Montadale sheep since Dec. 25, 1977, when Gary’s uncle, Fred Groomes, a dairymen from Mt. Airy, Md., presented them with a bred Montadale ewe that had been champion ewe at the Great Frederick Fair that year. When the ewe lambed, she had twins with no difficulty, but within a day or two, Gary’s uncle, Gilbert Groomes, who was also a dairyman, told the Caveys that the ewe had no milk.
“We were devastated,” Liz Cavey said.
But they got some powdered milk and were able to save one of the lambs, a buck.
It was a sad experience for the Caveys, but aside from that, they liked the looks of the Montadales and decided to purchase more.
“Our first purchased sheep were bought from Hughy Salfner, a Montadale breeder from Warwick, Md.,” Liz said.
The three Cavey children became interested and showed in 4-H for many years with each having their own flock, but none of the three children have sheep anymore.
“During that time, we were Premier Exhibitor in Medium Wool at the Maryland Sheep And Wool Festival,” Liz said, “and our son, David, had first place Market Lamb at the Maryland State Fair, and we had Grand Champion Fleece at the 1990 Montadale National Show and Sale.
“We also showed in open classes and in 1991 our kids had Reserve Champion Ewe and Reserve Champion Ram in Louisville, at the North American International Livestock Exposition.
“Our sheep have won many prizes at most of the large shows and sales, but win or lose, it has been and still is the adventure of a lifetime. The friends we have made and the associations that have been part of it, especially the Maryland Montadale Association, have been phenomenal.”
Gary and Liz met in August of 1971 while attending a quarter horse show at the Howard County Fairgrounds. They found they had much in common, Liz said. Both had horses and enjoyed trail riding and the outdoors.
“Our first purchase as a married couple included a Ford truck and a horse trailer,” she added.
Both had grown up in Baltimore; Gary in Catonsville and Liz in Edmondson Village. After marrying they lived in a town house apartment until they were able to build on the six acres they had purchased in Carroll County in 1974. Their house was completed in 1975 and they moved to Carroll County with their son, David, who was born in 1974.
“We still needed a barn to house the horses,” Liz said, “and to this end, we salvaged lumber from the bridge near the Patapsco State Park that had been washed out during Agnes, some telephone poles from here and there, and with help from Gary’s brothers, we erected a barn for the horses.”
The Caveys still have their six acres in New Windsor, Md., and currently have 14 ewes and a ram.
“We still continue to breed competitive sheep and send some to shows and sales with different people. They generally do well and that is rewarding in itself.
“I love wool and love to knit,” Liz said. “Our wool clip, after careful picking, is sent to Green Mountain Spinnery to be spun into worsted weight yarn. I hand dye the yarn and sell it at various fiber shows.
“I also knit some garments from our wool and sell sweaters, etc. I have a shop in my house and a sign at the entrance of our driveway.”