Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Show Results

The first one we showed was Shelby. After all the attention she got at the Best of the Midwest show, we were anxious to see how she was going to do here. Unfortunately, she was very hot and sweating which does affect their crimp and bundling of their fiber. We also get the impression the judge has a preference for zipper crimp. As I've stated in the past, I wasn't sure how Shelby would show because I have heard zipper crimp is prefered. At the Best of the Midwest show it didn't matter. That judge looked at how uniform the crimp was, not what kind of crimp it was. There she placed 2nd. Here in Indiana she took a 4th, out of 12.

To back track a bit, let me explain a bit more about how the show works. Each alpaca is put in a class to show based on the type of alpacas, their age and color, and fiber length. Shelby was in the Huacaya Full Fleece Medium Brown Juvenile Female class. Huacaya is the type of alpacas (all of ours are Huacaya, the other type is Suri and those are in separate classes). Full fleece means that she has more than 2 inches of fiber (I've talked about the shorn class before, look to our fall show posts to see my vent on that). Shelby is Medium Brown in color. And she is under a year so she is classed as Juvi (over a year is "yearling" and over 2 is "2 years and older" class). They are put into classes based on these criteria. A class can have up to 14 before they split it into 2 classes. In Shelby's class there were 12, not enough to separate into 2 sections of her class. They give ribbons up to 6th place, all other ones "get the gate" (no ribbon and no feedback from the judge). Tehya's class was separated, as was Lightnings. If they do more than one section of the class, they separate by age. The alpacas in each class are listed in age order with the oldest first. That way the judge knows right off the bat who is older than who (so you can see the size comparison). If the class is split into two sections, then the older 1/2 goes first, then the younger 1/2.

Shelby got a 4th out of 12 in her class. The judge's comments on her include: she has a good frame and is proportionate (meaning her neck isn't too long or too short, her body is confirmationally correct), her fiber is uniform, but was less fine and had less staple length than the one who placed above her.

Tehya was our next to show, but did not show until Sunday morning. Sunday was our busy day! We had one animal show right after the other. Tehya was in ring 2, Lightning in ring 1, and Tucker in ring 4. I was worried I might have to show one of them, but as it worked out J did all the showing *phew*

Tehya's class had 17 alpacas in it, so it was split into 2 sections. Tehya was in the second section, being almost in the middle age wise in that 2nd section. Sometimes it is thought there are advantages to being older or younger in a class. For example, the older ones have the benefit of being bigger. The younger ones may be a bit more immature. Being in the middle balances that all out. Tehya showed in the Huacaya Full Fleece Light Fawn Juvenile Female. She placed 2nd in her class! That is a 2nd out of 8. We are very excited about her placing there. The one who beat her is from Sunset Hills, out of their Seena's Goldilocks, an alpaca touted to be extremely good. We are very excited to be a small farm completing with the big farms so closely. The judge said she gave first to the other one because it was the finest. The judge said all the top ones had dense top knots. Tehya was said to be more dense, and to have longer staple length.

Because Tehya placed in 2nd that meant she got to stand in the Color Championship (I explained in my posts from the Best of the Midwest show how the color championship works). So this meant another time J walked an animal into the ring.

The next to show was Tucker. There were 5 in his class, so he was sure to place, but a 5th out of 5 doesn't mean a whole lot. Farms are less likely to take older alpacas to the shows, as usually they make a name for themselves as juvi and yearlings. Tucker had never been shown, so we don't have that background on him. He was a stinker there at the show too. The farm who's pen was next to us was getting a bit annoyed at Tucker's constant climbing the fence. I had visions of him getting loose and running free around are the arena. Thankfully he never did get free, but he sure provided entertainment for all around. It was fun to see him catch people's eye, and they would have to stop and talk to him. He showed in Huacaya Full Fleece Gray 2 Years and Older Males. Because there are less alpacas that show at the older ages they did not separate out Light Silver Grey and Dark Silver Grey, etc. They put all the 2+ greys males together. He was the oldest in his group, which can make it harder because as they age their fiber loses some of it's qualities. Ideally you want a male that does not lose their good qualities, but sometimes the younger ones do have an advantage there because it is unknown how they will hold up as they age. Tucker took 2nd out of 5! We were thrilled with that result. The judge said all these males had good bites. For Tucker she said that he was not as dense as first place, but he has a soft handle and uniform crimp. We are very excited to start his breeding career this year. With a 2nd, this added another color championship for J to show it. Thankfully Tucker's class was the last to show, and the color championship was right after.

Last to show was Lightning Bugs. It was said that there were 60 juvi white males there! Of course they were split into group, each section had 11 or 12 in it. Bugs was in the first section to show because he is an old juvi (birth date in May, he is almost a yearling). Being that 5 in his class got the gate (no ribbon) we were happy to have him get 4th. We had hoped for more, being that the judge pulled him up to the placing line first, but then she moved them around. White is said to be the hardest class to show in. There are many reasons for this, part of it is because white fleece was improved upon the most in Peru because that is what the European textiles wanted. It also has happened that farms in the US specialize in white and have invested a lot improving the white fleece. Given how colors work, white is dominate, which increases the number of white ones born. Also, given there were 60 in his class, you can see how much more competion there is in that then that 12 in Shelby's class. With that many more of them, there are bound to be some very good ones. Bugs got 4th out of 11 in his class.

Overall we had a great time at the show and are excited to brag about our wonderful babies. Those hard decisions on which alpaca to buy is coming to fruition in how these cria are showing. Given that the reason we bought the moms had to do with these little ones (and their sire), we are excited to see our choices play out in the show ring.

Lightning Bugs is going to go with Ashton Stone Alpacas to show in the spring Michigan show. It is a level 2 show, much smaller than the 2 shows we've done this spring. We wanted to get our alpacas out to some very competitive shows, and have been able to do that. Males seem to benefit most from more exposure. Girls only produce 1 alpaca a year so some exposure and ribbons is great, but males need that background to help when it comes time to sell breedings. For this reason we wanted to get Bugs to another show, and one in Michigan is great because it's easiest to do drive-by breedings with local farm. Exposure to Michigan breeders is ideal. Bugs has at least a year before he starts his breeding career, but it's nice to have some ribbons and exposure beforehand, rather than the situation we are with Tucker having had no previous exposure. That will be it for our spring show season. We are sad to see it ending, as we do enjoy the shows.

Now onto waiting for crias to be born :) I'm watching those tickers at the bottom of the page very closely. Sancha is already considered full term, so any day now. Though, given Bugs was born on day 356, and the ticker is set to day 350, I think it will be a bit before she delivers (the ticker gives us about 5 weeks). J wonders if she might deliver earlier this year because we have Sancha's weight up. We have been feeding her a lot more and making sure she won't be as thin as last year. We will see. I'm eager to see our Lord Stanley baby. And now that the moms are back by our house, we will be able to watch those cria all the time.

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