Sunday, April 4, 2010

Show Wrap-Up

The second day of showing brought some surprises. Cavalier was our first one to show. Cav has some wonderful attributes, but one thing that holds him back is that we had his cria tips shorn too early. To back up a bit, when we are at the Ohio show a few weeks ago we discovered that we have been shearing our cria too early. I think most of ours we had shorn when they were about 2 weeks old. The problem with this is that it isn't getting off all the tui tips. So the animal still has the velcro tips that everything sticks too, and worse than that, the fleece has a hard time having good structure (crimp and bundle structure). When you look at the length of the fleece, the structure falls out as it goes into the tui tips. We have learned the hard way that we need to wait at least 4 weeks before having our cria shorn. Cav's fiber is nice by his skin, but through the length of it, the structure starts to fall out. I've said all along that I was leery to even take him to shows this spring. I think we should have waited until fall after he's had a good full shearing. I think his fleece is going to come back in very nice. With all this in mind, we were prepared that Cav might get the gate at this show. This is a tough show and he was in a fairly big class. We were happy to have him get 4th! I still think his fleece is going to come in even better after he's shorn, but it was great to see him do well now.

The next one to show was our Pocahontas. Pocahontas again got 1st place! At this show they even combined light and dark indefinites, so she was up against lighter animals, and she still held her own and took 1st! We are very excited about our 1st place girl :) There wasn't a color championship at this show because there were not enough animals in the indefinite classes. We are sad that she didn't have a chance at this, but that is not that uncommon to have happen in this color class.

After Po, Lightning was up to show. We have been struggling with trying to decide if Lightning is herd sire material. We were going to pay very close attention to the judge's comments on Lightning to see what direction we should go with him. If he is herd sire quality, then what sort of females should be breed to him? Unfortunately, Lightning got the gate so we will never know the judges thoughts. It leaves us with even more questions on what to do with him.

Greyt was the last to show. Because there were not many 2+ years old grey males, they put them all in one class, all the silver greys and rose greys. This was to Greyt's disadvantage because he's dark. It's easier for the lighter colors to be finer and have better fleece structure. 2 in his class were light tuxedo greys, giving them a distinct advantage. We were disappointed when Greyt got 4th in this class. We did go and look at all the ones who beat him. I don't want to critique someone else's animal so I won't give a detailed description. I will say the one who got 1st was a tuxedo grey and he did have amazing fleece. The others I was less convinced were better than Greyt. What the judge did say about Greyt is that he is very dense and has very consistent fiber. The judge claimed that Greyt's fleece was less fine. Without a histogram to compare, I have a hard time taking one person's word for fineness. It can be very hard to feel. But I am happy to have confirmed that he is dense and consistent. I'm still excited to start breeding with him this year, and even more excited to see his cria next year.

I do want to say that just like every other show we have gone to, it is amazing what you learn seeing and getting your hands on other animals. It's also neat to meet other alpaca farmers, and catch up with people we've met throughout the years. It usually takes me a few days to process everything that happens at a show. We love going and look forward to our next show.

That wraps up our second spring 2010 show. In three weeks we go to The Great Midwest Alpaca Festival. What I keep forgetting to mention is that we are having 2 of our animals go with Ashton Stone Alpacas to The Michigan Alpaca Breeders Show and Fiber Fair. This takes place on May 1 & 2 in Davisburg, MI. It is a level II show. Despite it being in Michigan, we have never actually attended this show. Part of it has to do with scheduling. J is required to work some weekends, and with being gone for other shows, at some point he does need to squeeze in a weekend at work. We do wish it were bigger than a level II show, as we try to go to mostly level IV shows. We may go for one day, being as close as it is. Lightning and Rosco will be going to this show.

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