The Heart of the Valley Show (put on by our regional alpaca association WABA) is over, and we didn't win any ribbons. I'm not too surprised or disappointed. The judge was a huge fan of crimp, and El Barto isn't that crimpy yet. Barto was also the youngest animal in the ring and had not been shorn before, which made his fleece look different from the other animals. Plus, the class was so huge, they had to split it into two classes. It was a tough competition.
But I'm not bitter or making excuses. Really, I'm not.
Barto did beautifully in the ring, so I suppose all those early-morning training sessions paid off. He was relaxed, walked with his head up for the most part, and stood quietly. His two behavioral boo-boos were 1) he relieved himself in the ring and 2) he panicked when the judge grabbed his tail and then checked his fleece. At that point, Barto tried to cush, but I had him by the front end and the ring steward had him by the back, so we were suspending him in mid-air. Charles has a great picture of this which I'll try to get online soon for you.
The main point of the show for us was to schmooze with the public. We gave out a lot of business cards, and collected names of people who might be interested in some information I have or might want to come to visit the ranch. When we have our next open ranch/alpaca party, we'll invite those people, too.
I learned to spin at the show using my grandmother's Turkish drop spindle from a group of spinners who spent the whole show just above our stall. It was so much fun that I bought a roving from our friends at Alpacas at Lone Ranch, which the dog promptly claimed as a toy (it's salvageable). This summer, my grandmother will come up here for a visit and will teach me to spin using her old spinning wheel. I can't wait!
All in all, it was a good show. We were completely exhausted by Sunday night, and we went to bed at around 9:30. Spring quarter began today, so we started classes tired, and a little unprepared. I don't think we will go to any more alpaca shows during the school year, but there are plenty of summer shows. We will go to Heart of the Valley again next year because it should coincide with Spring Break again. Otherwise, it will be summer shows for us!