Monday, March 14, 2011

Two 1st Place Ribbons!

The biggest excitement from our adventures at the Best of the US Alpaca Show is that we came home with two 1st place ribbons!

OHVNA The Challenger:

Smokey's Twilight:

Because they got 1st place, we will also have a show picture for them. I'll post those when we get our copy.

The judge stated that Challenger's fiber had great organization, is fine and bright and has a good handle.

The judge stated that Twilight's fiber is bright and fine (an established trait from her sire), and has an incredible handle. The judge did note a bit of difference in her crimp from the front to back of her blanket (which we had already noticed), but still placed Twilight at the top of her class because of how fine and bright it is. The judge also noted that Twilight has rock solid conformation.

We already had a sense that Twilight would do well in the show. We had Twilight color checked by the judge because she's not a clear color (she was put in the Indefinite Dark class, the judges did not feel she has quite enough grey fibers for the dark silver grey class). To do a judge's check on the color you have to have someone else take your animal up to the judges. The person we asked took a peak at Twilight's fiber and was amazed. Then other people around started looking at it too. While we know Twilight is cute, when you open up her fiber it's even nicer than expected. We love that sort of surprise, and it was neat to have people impressed with her also.

Our beloved Enlightenment's Rocky Rose also did fantastic in the show ring. While she received a 3rd place (not the coveted 1st), she was up against six animals, two of which came from the same farm: Stachowski Alpacas (a long established alpaca farmer, he was one of the original importers of alpacas). Of course his two came in 1st and 2nd. A 3rd against those two counts as a 1st anywhere else! There is no shame in coming in right behind him.

Our biggest disappointment was the placement of Harley. He came in 6th. We did have to cut back his top knot due to burrs and a matt in his fiber, but the judge said that did not have any impact on his placing. The judge stated that he placed Harley there because his body is a bit long and his fiber not as fine as those ahead of him. He is white, which is known to be the hardest class (white fiber was the most improved upon in Peru, all the other colors were not as advanced to begin with and are still trying to catch up). Harley is going to two other shows this spring, so we have time to get more feedback on him.

For newer readers who don't know, I decided a long time ago not to take pictures of the alpacas when they are in the show ring. That is why I don't have a nice ring shot for each of our alpacas from the show. While I'm not really superstitious, we seemed to have terrible results when I have my camera on me. It seemed every time I was prepared to take a picture, the animal would place last or get the gate. Then when I'd forget my camera, they would do well. So, I got into the habit of not taking my camera up to the show ring. Surprisingly very few people do take pictures of the show. I know not everyone has a blog like I do, but you'd think more people would want to capture the moment. I actually think this is a lost opportunity. You'd think some of those big farms would pay someone to capture their animal's winning moment. There is a show photographer, who takes posed shots of alpacas in front of his backdrop. When the alpaca wins 1st place or a color banner you get a free picture from this photographer (he is paid through the show). You can also purchase posed shots from him. I love getting these pictures! I do what I can to get photos for my blog, but I am not a photographer. I will post Twilight and Challenger's 1st place winning photos as soon as we get them from the photographer.


Ertman-Trowbridge Family said...

Yay! I am so happy for all of you! (And proud too!)

Twilight is just a beautiful animal-- and so cute to boot!

And do not be too disappointed with Harley. You have mentioned a few times that white is the hardest class. I am glad you will have the opportunity to get some additional feedback about him.

In other news: I got a small inheritance from my Great Aunt Selma. Dave agreed that as it is such a small amount, that I may use it buy a wheel!!! I have enough to get most any wheel on the market, but I want to gather some opinions of others. So, what are yours?

Oak Haven Alpacas said...

How exciting!!!!

My suggestion would be to go to a yarn shop and try out several wheels. I know the Old Farm Girl ( up in White Cloud has several models sitting out, and the owner there, Evelyn, is very sweet and helpful. That is what I did. And you know, the wheels I had been considering completely changed after I tried a few. The biggest thing I noticed was ones on three legs felt wobbly to me. I thought they were so pretty and had almost bought that type of model until I tried it. Others that I hadn't considered felt better to me. This is a completely personal thing too, so what feels right to one person, won't to another. There's the consideration of if you like one peddle or two, which style wheel (castle shape or traditional H shape). That's why it's important to get your hands on the wheel yourself. You don't have to know how to spin to hook it up (or let the shop owner hook it up) and peddle a bit to get the feel :)

The I have a Louet 17. Here's a link to one: I admit that at first sight I was not impressed. It looked functional but not pretty. But, once I tried it I fell in love. And I had the added bonus of being able to find that one second hand. It saved me a lot of $$.

I do think if I had more $ to spend, which you are in the position to have a bit to play with, I'd suggest a portable one. I love the look of the Ashford Joy, and likely would have bought that had I had the funds for it. It even comes in it's own carry bag! I haven't used one though, so that would be the catch, who knows, I might hate the feel of it LOL. Louet does make a portable one too, in fact I found this comparison listing several portable spinning wheels:

The thing about portable ones is that not only could you attend a spinning guild if you'd like, but you may find you want to take your wheel with you on a weekend trip (I've done it when I visited my parents). It's a pain with a full size one (took up most of my trunk). But I know not everyone plans to ever take theirs out of the house so that might not be a consideration for you.

Feel free to come over and try out my spinning wheel. And once you get your wheel we'll have to plan a spinning afternoon :) that would be very fun!!


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