Congratulations, Leon: 2016 Dorset Hall of Fame Inductee
Leon’s Grandfather brought Horned Dorsets to the family farm in Wythe County, Va, in 1906. Since that time Horned Dorsets have been raised on the farm.
Leon began his own registered flock at a young age with the purchase of a ewe at the Eastern States Stud Ram Sale. In 2001 he celebrated 50 years of raising registered Horned Dorsets by giving a ewe lamb to a young person at each of the sales and fairs the family attended. Some of those young people still raise sheep and are still in touch with Mr. Cassell, their friend and teacher.
Leon has promoted sheep and agriculture for the many years of his working and family life as both a shepherd and public school educator. Each of his children had their own registered flock and today Paul, Mary Ann, and Diana still have registered Horned Dorsets on the family farm. Mr. Cassell’s sheep were frequent visitors to the elementary school where he was principal for over 30 years. Today grandchildren of his students tell the stories told to them of Mr. Cassell teaching about sheep and agriculture, putting his Carharts over his dress clothes and shearing a sheep for the students and parents to see, and promoting agriculture and sheep as the vital part of the community they have always been.
Leon is a member of the New River Valley Sheep and Goat Club, Virginia Sheep Producers, several educational and community organizations, and of course he is a life member of the Continental Dorset Club. He served as director and president in the Virginia Dorset Breeders Association and on a nominating committee for the Continental Dorset Club.
Leon continues to promote agriculture and sheep, Horned Dorsets in particular, through attending and showing at as diverse venues as Heritage Days in Wytheville to the National Shows and Sales throughout the country. Although for paperwork purposes the name most often called out at the major shows and sales is Paul, the son, Leon, the Dad and PaPa, is still a major force in the Cassell Horned Dorsets flock, serving as the day to day farm labor and shepherd on the farm in Wythe County, Virginia.
In 2014 and 2015 Paul Cassell is listed as having registered the largest number of Dorsets, Horned or polled, in the Continental Dorset Club. Cassell Horned Dorsets have for many years been known as the largest flock of registered Horned Dorsets in the country. Leon has played a significant role in beginning, maintaining, and continuing to improve this most important flock of Horned Dorsets and has helped to direct the breed and breeders through his promotion of the breed and “talking sheep” to anyone who wanted to listen.