Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wisconsin Show Day 1

Today started with our waking up way too early. We are in a different time zone, so it felt later to us. And, I think kids have ruined me for life, I can no longer sleep in (or maybe it's just old age seeping in).

We had plenty of time to get ready and head out to the venue. Here is my picture of the Alliant Engery Center:

Inside the arena is a circular room with a huge seating area. There are two rings set up in the middle. One ring is for the Suri Alpacas, and one for Huacaya. There are two levels of seating, all the way around the arena. This is what one ring looks like:

Also inside the arena were the stalls for the farms that sponsor the show, and a herd sire row.

Around the arena there is like a wide hallway going all the way around the building, where the pens are set up. It was impossible for me to get a decent picture of this. I don't think you can really see how this hallway type area is circular. But, here is what the pens look like:

Our pen is off in the distance, with the big green oak leaf :)
Here is our pen:

Here are our girls up close:

Every venue does their set up a little different for the pens. We've been to some shows where they have sod in each stall. Some shows allow you to use straw, and some just supply shredded cardboard. It is interesting to see how every farm uses the different products to set up their stall. Everyone does it a bit different. We've seen many farms that put the shredded cardboard down, then their stall mat. Some even tape the mat down with duct tape. We had the matt on top at the first show we went to, and it was horrible. I still have horror thoughts about what happened. The first day of the show we came to show our animals and they had laid and rolled in poop all night long! It was so horrible. Add on that they were white animals (I can still picture them, Sommerfield and Max all covered in poop. Maddie was there too but being black it didn't matter so much). It was awful. We then learned the trick of putting the cardboard or straw on top of the mat. This way the poop falls inside the straw or shredded cardboard and the animal doesn't lay right in it. In Ohio, we put the shredded cardboard under the mat to soak up the pee, then straw on top of the matt to hide the poop. This is the ultimate set up. We never had to poop scoop the entire weekend. Some shows do not allow you to use straw due to it being a fire hazard (this sometimes is a rule for the venue). For this show we didn't take straw because we weren't sure if we would have room to transport it. So we put the cardboard on top of the matt:

This works fairly well to keep the poop off the animals. We do scoop some poop, but don't have to worry like the incident at our first show. The only down side is that when the animals do roll, they spread the shredded cardboard everywhere, all over the isle.

We've found that Tehya's role in our herd is that of mother hen, and protector. The only one of ours to show today was Cafe. When we got her haltered and took her out of the pen, Tehya become very upset. She tried to get out of the pen too. This is the role Maddie used to hold, before she became pregnant. It's neat to see their roles and how they change over time. Then when we did get Cafe back to the pen, and fed them their grain, Tehya wouldn't let Cafe eat! I don't know what that was all about, but it was clear Tehya was not going to allow Cafe to have any grain.

Cafe showed in a mixed class of Yearling Fawn, both Dark Fawn and Light Fawn. This was to Cafe's disadvantage because she is the darker color (one of only 2 dark fawn, there were 6 light fawn). We knew this would be a hard class for Cafe, and then we saw the competition. Yikes! There were animals from some really big name males. We took Cafe to this show hoping to get some feedback on her qualities. We plan to breed her this summer, and need to know her positive and negative qualities so that we can breed her to the right. We need to make sure the male has what she lacks. We were glad that at least Cafe placed so that we could get feedback on her. We know she's not 1st place quality, but we also believe we can get quality out of her. She placed 6th (of 8). The judge said that her fiber is consistent (this refers to her crimp, bundling and handle). Her negative would be that she isn't as fine. This confirmed the need for a fine male. I also think her fiber isn't very bright, so a bright, fine male is what she needs.

Tomorrow Tehya will show pretty early on in the morning (3rd class to show). She is in a mixed class of Yearling Light - both beige and light fawn together. For Tehya, this is a disadvantage because she is the darker color. There are 10 in her class (3 beige, and 7 light fawn).

We are disappointed that they combined the classes for Cafe and Tehya. It really put them at a disadvantage (especially since both ended up the darker of the group). It fits with the show rules, it's just that most of the shows we have been to they left them separate. I prefer them separate, I think that makes a more fair playing field.

Pocahontas will show in the Multi/Indefinite Class. She will be 1 of four in her class. Two are pinto and 2 are Indefinite Dark. It's really hard to say who has the disadvantage in this group. Personally I wish they would separate out the two, do a class of pinto and a class of Indefinite Dark, but I'm not in charge ;) This will be the second to last class to show. It's gonna be a long day tomorrow.

For dinner, we had reservations at the Lombardino's Restaurant, an amazing Italian restaurant downtown. We had seen it last night, but heard you needed reservations, so made them for tonight. It was fantastic! I'm going to start looking forward to going to shows for the great food.

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