Locally-bred sheep were featured in Saudi Arabia's first "beauty pageant" for sheep. In the past few years, beauty pageants involving camels and goats -- which, together with sheep, symbolize Bedouin lifestyle -- have been held across the kingdom.
The pageant offered an opportunity for breeders to do business and a rare outlet for entertainment. The goal of the competition was to encourage Saudis to breed for quality. Some of those who attended the event said Saudi sheep -- known as Nejdi sheep -- have markedly improved over the past decade because of the attention given to breeding them.
Four thousand men (no women) assembled on a stretch of desert just north of Riyadh. The men sat in armchairs around a tiny runway covered with red carpeting, as rams and ewes were put on display following a fireworks show and a competition for the best poem in praise of sheep.
According to the organizer, good ewes sell for 20,000-30,000 Saudi riyals, the equivalent of $5,300-$8,000 while good rams can fetch hundreds of thousands of riyals.
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