Friday, March 11, 2011

We are here!

We arrived in Columbus, Ohio about 2:30 this afternoon for the Best of the US Alpaca Show. We had a good trip down, after almost leaving without some necessary paperwork from Ashton Stone Alpacas. Thankfully they caught us on the road, just as we were about to leave town.

The first day at the show there is no actual showing. There is a typical sequence of events:

* Arrive at the venue
* Vet Check
* Color Check
* set up your stalls
* Exhibitors meeting

The Vet Check is where the vet checks the alpaca's micro-chip number to make sure it is the right alpaca. They also will look for any signs of illness or a problem with an alpaca.

Color Check is where they verify the animal's sex, age and color, since this is essential to the animal showing in the right class.

I'm always amazed how long all this takes. We also find it takes longer the more animals you have. While that makes sense in some respects, it still amazes us how much longer it takes. While we took a break for dinner, we still did not get to our hotel until 9 p.m. (which to me is late, I'm usually home at night so being out and about and busy isn't my usual).

There are a lot of things I did not get a picture of today. We were so busy that it doesn't always work to take out my camera to capture the moment. I didn't get a picture of the animals packed in our trailer, or the vet check in, or when J almost ran me over (he was backing up the trailer and didn't know I was closing the back door - other than my hand getting smashed, I'm fine, it was quite the scare though). I didn't get a picture of color check either.

I do have some pictures of us setting up the stalls. We took 5 of our own alpacas and 4 alpacas for Ashton Stone Alpacas. We put our two girls and Challenger in one pen (they already reside together back at our farm). Then we put our two older boys in with the four boys from Ashton Stones.

This picture is early on in the setting up process, before the alpacas are in the pens. What we do is put down cardboard chips (that the show supplies to you) then we put down our matts, then straw on top. The cardboard soaks up the alpaca pee, and the straw covers up the poop, to keep both off of the animals. There are a lot of different ways to do the stall set up, but we have found this to work the best for us. We also makes sure the fans are right at the alpaca's height so that they have no choice but to be in front of the fans. Fans can make or break an alpaca's fiber when it comes to showing. Fans keep their fiber from going limp, which would mask the crimp and bundling that we want to shine in front of the judge. I used to get so annoyed because J was particular about where the fans go, but the more I see and learn, the more I realize he was right about this.

We put up our Oak Haven Alpacas signs:

Here is a close up of the matt and hay with the cardboard underneath:

On the front of the stalls we put up the animals ARI (their ancestry is on there, along with there age and color). With the ARI there is a picture of the alpaca, and any show ribbons they have (note Rose's blue first place ribbon from last fall's show):

Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. the actual alpaca show will start. The first alpaca with us to show will be Alpacula. He is from Ashton Stone Alpacas. True Black is the first color to show, and he is true black. The first of our own alpacas to show will be Our Copper Canyon. He should be the only one of ours to show on Saturday. Two other boys from Ashton Stones should also show on Saturday, so that makes 4 total for that day. This means Sunday will be another busy day for us, showing 4 of our own and one for Ashton Stone Alpacas.


Louellen Lawson said...

Looks really fun. Hope your hand is o.k.

Ertman-Trowbridge Family said...

I can't wait to read more about the show! Good luck to everyone.

And I really like your signs.

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