With an artist/art teacher for a father and a grandmother that was a professional seamstress that loved to knit and crochet, Shon grew up with an appreciation for art and received hands-on experience in many different mediums. You might say that art, crafting and a love for fiber is in her DNA. Her love for all animals and horses in particular found her working her way through college on horse farms and at Keeneland. After graduating from the University of Kentucky with B.A. in Journalism, Shon worked for several years in the Thoroughbred industry in communications at various racetracks and Breeders’ Cup Ltd., while her husband Jerry ran the farm and trained the racehorses. After co-founding a Thoroughbred adoption program and growing it to nationwide status, she stepped back to create U Dirty Dog, a pet and farm watch and boarding business servicing pet, equine and livestock clients in Central Kentucky. In 2012, the Wylies made the decision to bring sheep into the mix on their small horse farm. In 2019, she teamed up with Kathy to launch Kentucky Wool Works.
Growing up for all intents and purposes a ‘city girl,’ but intent on living the farming life, Kathy graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Animal Sciences. As a 40-year veteran of the sheep industry, Kathy's experience began at the University of Kentucky Sheep Unit as a student employee. After college, she began her own small flock that continues today with 100 head of Texel crossbred ewes. Other teaching experience includes working with sheep producers and 4-H youth as a UK Cooperative Extension Agent and at Morehead State University as the ‘Sheep Re-Introduction to Appalachia’ manager, a program designed to bring sheep back to Eastern Kentucky. Following that she was hired to manage a large farm in central Kentucky that included 1,000 sheep and 200 cows. Most recently she has been a Mentor in the successful Small Ruminant Profit School, a cooperative effort between the Kentucky Sheep and Goat Development Office, the University of KY and Kentucky State University to educate new small ruminant producers and pair them with experienced shepherds. That program is how she met Shon, when she became her mentor.
Currently Kathy and Shon are both involved with the Kentucky Natural Fiber Center, a program sponsored by the KSGDO to assist natural fiber producers, artisans, small mills and entrepreneurs in a mutually supportive effort to revitalize the textile business in Kentucky.