Monday, March 15, 2010

Best of the US Alpaca Show

I intended to update my blog throughout the weekend. We took our laptop with us so that I could do that. But, as it was, I just plain did not have time to do it. We were so busy all day long, and got back to our hotel late at night, I was too tired to even turn on the computer, let alone mess with pictures and write up anything. I am finally now getting to work on it.

Friday we left our house in the morning, as soon as the kids left for school, we loaded up our alpacas. We took Shelby, Lily, Pocahontas, Cavalier, and Rosco.

We made our first stop at Ashton Stone Alpacas to pick up some of their alpacas for the show. We picked up Jolie, Riphaeus, and d'Artagnan. We head out to Ohio, on the way the way we picked up their new suri alpaca, Paisley.

The way the show goes, on Friday you arrive, have your animals vet checked, and color checked (so they know what color class they will show in). You set up your pens for the alpacas. They had a meeting at 7 p.m. for all the show exhibitors. And after that meeting, they met with all the farms who had auction animals.

We are getting better at setting up everything, but this show seemed to take a long time. I know we had more animals with us than we have had in the past, but still, it seemed to all go in slow motion. We had intended to check into our hotel and get some supper before the 7 p.m. meeting, but we weren't even all set up by that point. By the time we left the fairgrounds, and got to our hotel, it was at least 9 p.m.

Saturday we arrived early, because we knew Rosco would be showing in the first class (they start with black juveniles). Rosco has good conformation, and good fiber, that is shiny, fine, but not dense. We know she is not that dense so we knew she wouldn't place at the top of the class. Rosco got a respectable 5th out of 8. This is about what we expected. I have said from the start that Rosco is a great foundation animal and next year we will be sure to breed her to a very dense male. Shelby was the next of our animals to show. Shelby has had a mixed show record. Last year at this show she got 2nd place, and almost got into the color championship. Her 2nd show in Indiana she placed 4th, but she was very hot and that messes up their fiber crimp and structure. Then last fall in Michigan she got a first. We were disappointed with her fourth place at this show. The judges only negative comment was that her fiber lack architecture. I don't know that I agree with that evaluation. Shelby has a bolder crimp and there can be a bias in the show ring for the very crimpy zipper crimp. Saturday evening was the action. I'll write a separate post about that. It did mean a very late night, I don't think we left the fairgrounds until after 7 p.m. (that's late for me ;) ).

Sunday we knew we needed to get there early because D'ar from Ashton Stone Alpacas would show in the very first class of the day. There was also the time change, so it felt an hour earlier. What we didn't expect was that the hotel clock automatically moved forward that hour, we moved forward an hour, so we ended up 2 hours ahead. Plus, I slept terrible that night. I was overtired, but finally fell asleep, then woke up around 1 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. I was running on very low sleep all day Sunday.

3 of our animals showed on Sunday (plus 2 of Ashton Stone Alpacas). Another busy day! First up of our alpacas was Lily. Lily has soft fiber with good crimp, and she has rock solid conformation. However, white classes are by nature very difficult. White is the color that was most improved prior to coming into the States, and many farms specialize in white, making it very competitive. Just placing in a white class can be a challenge. Lily placed 5th out of 11 alpacas. We are happy with that placement, given the tough competition. The only negative the judge stated about Lily is that she had some cross fibers, which I think is what I sometimes call webbing. I can't say I have noticed that on Lily, but I have on other alpacas. After Lily, Cavalier had his chance to show. I have to back track and say that my own opinion is that Cav will be better next year than he is this year. His fiber's crimp isn't consistent the length of the fiber. His cria tipping is so soft, his crimp falls out. My opinion was to wait to show him until after he is shorn this spring. I think he is going to blossom into a nice male, but until he's shorn, his fiber isn't really showing his full potential. We took him to the show, wondering how he'd do, and it confirmed what I had already said about him. He did not place in his class, he "got the gate", meaning we walked out of the ring gate without a ribbon. Last of ours to show was Pocahontas. Pocahontas showed in the Indefinite Dark Class. We have her listed as a dark rose grey, a dark brown that has grey fibers running throughout. I still believe this is what she is (or will turn into), however, at this show she color checked as an Indefinite Dark. What this class means is that she has too many grey fibers to be considered dark brown, but too few grey fibers to be considered a rose grey. I would argue that the lighting in that forum is not the best, because when we are outside I see much more grey than I did inside, but this is how she colored check as (we had the judges decide which color class she should show in and this was their decision).

Pocahontas got 1st place!!!! Add her to our list of 1st place ribbon winners (with Sancha, Kateri, Tehya and Shelby).



This was our first color banner, something we have been eyeing for awhile. How the color championship works is the 1st place winner from each class in a color go up against each other. This class was a little mixed because it was Indefinite Dark, Indefinite Light, and there were juvi classes and yearling classes. All the first place winners (four of them) went against each other. The top one gets Color Champion, the next top one (sort of like 2nd place) gets Color Reserve. Our PoPo got color reserve! We are very excited!!

After this, we stayed around to show Shelby and Cav in Produce of Dam. This is really a class for the mom, Victoria. Three judges evaluate the 2 animals from the same mom to see if she puts her stamp on them (ie her traits come through). We did this on a whim, since we were already staying late for Get of Sire, and this was our only chance to have Shelby there for this, we decided to just do it. Victoria got 4th out of 6 entries. We are happy with this result. This is about how Victoria herself did when she was in the show ring. And, the only fault the judges mentioned was that Cav and Shelby's crimp were different. However, I happen to know that Shelby's was similar to Cav's last year, before she was shorn. I think he will look more like her's after he is shorn. This may be a Victoria trait, and may mean that we show less of Victoria's cria as juvis. We might as well wait until they are yearlings and their full potential comes through.

We also showed Smokey in Get of Sire. We had d'Ar, Jolie, and Rosco there to represent him. We were a little worried that Rosco isn't as much like the other two (less crimp, and her face looks different) but that wasn't part of the feedback we got. He placed 3rd out of 4 entries. The feedback on Smokey's offspring is that they are very bright, very fine, but lacked density. This is what we have already thought, but it was nice to have our own thoughts confirmed. At least we know we are on the right track. To maximize Smokey's potential, he needs to be bred to dense girls who could use fineness and brightness.

Here are some pictures from our weekend. I did not take a lot of pictures. Part of it is that I didn't really have time, we moved from one event to the next at a quick pace. Also, I have found when my camera is on me, the animal doesn't place well. The times I do not have my camera with me, they place better. I know that's not really the case, but it sure feels that way (and makes me less likely to have my camera on me).

In the pen, Rosco wanted to rest on top of Po's back:

everyone resting:

Haltering before going into the ring:

In the ring:

We were one of the last farms to leave the fairgrounds. Most of the farms packed up and left throughout the day on Sunday. We showed in the very last class, Get of Sire, so we were there to the bitter end. And, because we were so busy all day long, we didn't have a chance to pack up much before that last showing. We had a lot of animals to pack up and get home. It is a long drive from Ohio, especially when hauling a trailer. We arrived at our house at 12:45 a.m. Monday morning. I am so glad I didn't plan on going into work on Monday. And so very thankful the kids' grandparents were able to watch them all weekend. I did get up Monday to make their lunches, morning came way too early for me.


Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

Thanks Justin and Cara for all your hard work this weekend! We really appreciate you showing our animals!

PS-I love the pictures of Rosco resting on Po! So cute!

cara said...

We had a great time! When first getting home I was so exhausted, but now that I've had a chance to settle down, I remember how great it was going. We appreciate your caring for our animals back home. I don't know how we'd go otherwise.

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