Monday, May 7, 2012

Ribbons for all!

We had a great weekend at the Buckeye show!  We have never attended this show before, but decided to this year because the spring alpaca show in Indiana was canceled (due to conflicts at the venue). We wanted to fill our spring show calendar :)

Twilight ~ 2nd place
Rose ~ 1st place
Challenger ~ 2nd place
Gabe ~ 4th place
Princess ~ 2nd place
Lady Bing ~ 2nd place
Shamballa ~ 6th place
Vamil ~ 2nd place
Thunder ~ 1st place

This past weekend we attended the Buckeye Alpaca Show in Columbus, Ohio.   We brought 9 alpacas with us, and each one of them placed!  None of them came in last.

I say it that way because sometimes it's hard to know what a placing means.  At an alpaca show, each alpaca is put into a class based on:
+  type of alpaca (huacaya or suri),
+  by sex (male or female),
+  by age (juvi, yearling, 2+ year old),
+  by color.

How many alpacas are in each class depends on what alpacas are at the show.  This can vary from 1 to 16.  If someone says that their alpacas won 3rd, this could mean they did great, or not so great.  The biggest question is, how many were in the class?  In a class with 12 alpacas a 3rd is great! In a class of 3, 3rd is actually last place.   There are times that a 6th place is more meaningful than a 3rd (if say the 6th was in a class of 12 and the 3rd was in a class of 3 or 4).   There are times there is a class with 1 alpaca in it.  Typically they do receive a 1st place, but that doesn't always mean they are great quality (a judge can give a 2nd place in a class of 1 if the alpaca has a serious default as defined in the show book.  I have never had this happen to one of our alpacas but I have seen it happen, in that case it was due to tender breaks.  However, if the alpaca doesn't have a serious fault, the judge cannot give 2nd just because the fiber isn't nice).

We knew starting out at the show that we would have conflict between the male and female ring.  The show starts with greys and we have both male and female grey alpacas.  I decided to take the lead in the girls' ring, J would handle the male ring.

Our first alpaca to show was Twilight.  Twilight came in 2nd in her class of 5 (I believe).  The judge said she was a very close 2nd, with the first place winner having a bit more fineness and density, and a bit bigger frame.  However, he stated that Twilight had very bright fiber with lots of character!!   I was even more excited about what he said then her placing, since we are breeding for bright fiber full of character - we got it right!!!!

After Twilight showed I rushed to go Rose, with only one class in between the two girls.  J was busy with Challenger in the boy's ring.

While I was showing Twilight, J was in the other ring with Challenger.   I believe there were 4 in Challengers' class, where Challenger was given a 2nd place!!  This puts him in the top half of his class.  I don't know what the judge said since I was busy listening in my own ring and now I can't remember what J said the judge said.

Next I showed Rose who was in the 2+ year old grey female class, a class of 3.   Rose received 1st!!!   The judge loved the organization in her fiber.

For all the animals who win 1st or 2nd place, they then stand in the color championship.  All the 1st place winners compete for Color Champion.  The 2nd place winner only is looked at for Color Reserve if the 1st place in their class received Color Champion.  For grey girls, this meant both Rose and Twilight were in the championship!  During this time J was standing with Challenger in the boys grey championship!   With only 2 of us, J had to snag someone to walk Twilight in the ring (I can't hold both girls at the same time).    After all the jumbling Rose was not picked for the championship and Twilight never got looked at (for a 2nd place winner, that alpaca is only looked at for reserve if the 1st place winner gets color championship).

After grey we moved into blacks, which meant it was time for Gabriel to be shown.  Gabe has had a rough year, after being so sick with Emac last summer.  He's recovered but hasn't placed as well since his whole ordeal.  We didn't expect much out of his showing.  We were pleasantly surprised for him to place 4th of 6 black yearling males!!!   While typically that would be lower than we would accept for a herdsire quality male (we want in the top 1/3 of the class), given Gabe's illness this was fantastic for him.  His illness in not genetic so his offspring will not have his setbacks.

For the brown class we had both Princess (AKA Duchess) in dark brown and Lady Bing in light brown.  They combined light and medium brown, so in one class was Princess, the very next class was Lady Bing.  J was still in the ring with Gabe and I had one girl who had to be in the ring and one girl to be in the line up!!!  Of course right at that time, no one I knew is nearby.  I finally asked someone I didn't really know to hold Lady Bing in the mean time praying that J would be out of the boys ring in time to walk her in.

Princess shows in a class of 4, where she was placed 2nd!!!  This is Princess second show, and we are quite excited about her placing.  The judge said she was a bit small for her age and that is why she was in 2nd.  He talked about her fleece being bright and full of character - exactly what we are breeding for!!!

J did get done with Gabe in time to walk Lady Bing in her class.  She was in a class of 8 (I believe, it's hard to remember all those details).   Lady Bing took 2nd in her class!!!  Again the judge mentioned brightness and character - I love the comments even more than the placing.

With both Princess and Lady Bing being in 2nd, this meant they both would stand in for the color championship.  However, neither of the 1st place for their class won color champion so neither were actually looked at for reserve.

With all these 1st and 2nd placing we sure were standing in a lot of color championships!!  By the end of the first day we had been in the ring 11 times for 6 alpacas.

The rest of our alpacas showed the next day, on Sunday.

First in on Sunday was Shamballa.  Shamballa is a very nice male, who was in a very tough class.  I  believe there were 10 in his class total.  Shamballa has very very very long fiber that is a total hay mess.  He was not cria shorn (which we usually do but we purchased him over the winter when it was too late for cria shearing).   Not only is his fiber long, but it's fine with tui tips that hold onto all sorts of debri.  We were happy to have him place 6th in this large class.  While not as high as what we'd like to see for herdsire quality, I still have faith in his fiber and can't wait to shear him and see how it comes back.  The judge stated in his reasoning that Shamballa's fiber would place him much higher, but his legs are a bit awkward and he walked slumped forward.  The judge would like to see more confidence in him.  Well that is something we can work on!  I can't wait to see how he shows as a yearling.

We were a bit anxious about Vamil's yearling white class.  This has typically been the most difficult class of the show (though other colors are certainly catching up to the quality of competition that white has).   We are beyond thrilled for him to place 2nd in this class of 10!!!  He has been an incredible addition to our farm :)

Last of ours to show was Thunder.  He was placed in Indefinite Dark for this show, a class of only 2.  We were happy to have him place in 1st!  The judge stated the reason he was placed first is because of his bright fleece - exactly what we are breeding for!  I was even more excited about what the judge stated to us after the show.  He told us that Thunder has the density that our farm needs.  He noted that our alpacas are fine with lots of fiber character, but we need to work on getting more density.   It definitely pays to chat with judges after the show (it's not appropriate during).  We have learned so much and they really can give you tips and suggestions for your alpacas and your breeding program.  Though I do suggest asking more than one judge and also taking into consideration what other alpaca farmers have to say.  We like to gather information from many sources.

That ends our 2012 spring show season.

This was Rose and Twilight's last show, as they will be bred this summer.  I can't wait to see what they produce!

We are still deciding if we will show any of our yearling boys as 2+ males (the most likely would be Vamil, I doubt we'll show Gabe or Challenger anymore).

We have several juvis for showing next fall (many of them will be yearlings by then): Lady Bing, Princess, Dutch, Shamballa, and Thunder.

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