Friday, April 8, 2011


We hope to leave around 8:30 a.m. to head to the Indiana Alpaca Invitational in Fort Wayne, Indiana. While you can check in at the show venue anytime before 7 p.m., we've found that if you get there at 3 p.m. or later, you end up waiting in a pretty long line for everything. We aim to get to a venue between 1 and 3 p.m., hoping for earlier rather than later.

Once you arrive at the venue, the first stop is vet check. Each show does this a bit different. Some shows the vet comes into your alpaca trailer and checks out the alpacas in there, other venues require that you take the alpacas out of the trailer. Sometimes you just need to lead them over to an area set up outside, other times it's inside the venue. From what I remember of this show, the vet comes into your trailer. We'll be hauling 6 of our own alpacas and 3 for Ashton Stone Alpacas, so with 9 alpacas in tow, it will be very nice not to have to lead them all somewhere.

After the vet check in, you find out which stall your farm is assigned to. Every farm does their set up a little bit different. We prefer to set up our stall, then bring our alpacas into the stall. Though I've seen other farms do the reverse. It comes down to a personal preference.

After we have our stall mostly set up and alpacas inside, we take a look at the line for color check. We try to hit color check early on to get it done before that gets too busy. At color check they look at your alpaca's fiber right next to the skin to see which color class that animal will show in. When you register for the show, you already have picked the color you think your animal is, but color check can overrule that. If you disagree with the official at color check, or if your animal's color is a bit unusual, then you can have the judges check the animal. We have does a judge's check on our indefinite animals, to make sure that is the class they belong in.

Usually by the time this is all done it's late, usually passed dinner time. At our last show we left a bit earlier so that we could check into our hotel and grab a decent dinner, then come back and finish up. At that show, the exhibitor's meeting was that evening. By the time the exhibitor's meeting is done, and the stalls completely set up, it's usually quite late. The show usually starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, so it's often a short night for us. Some shows have the exhibitor's meeting first thing Saturday morning.

We are very excited to go to our second spring show of 2011. I can't wait to see how our alpacas do!! But, that's not all that happens at a show. There is a lot of networking, and learning from other alpaca farmers. It's so much more than just ribbons.

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