the Great Frederick Fair alpaca halter and fleece shows are an amazing bargain and an excellent chance for small farms to get exposure and sell animals, you can still enter until August 15 so what are you waiting for? You do NOT need to live in Maryland to enter! The judges are Wade Gease (halter) and Wini Labrecque (fleece) both are Nationally known and the fee is a low, low $25 per pen and $25 per halter plus EVERY OTHER class for an additional $25!
If your excuse is that you are new and afraid that you don't know how to show alpacas, read further. I will be happy to tell you what you need to know and you'll be ready! Really! It's that easy!
The classes you can enter are:
Halter (the alpaca is judged)
Showmanship (you are judged on how well you show off the alpaca)
Obstacle (see photos below)
Public Relations (this is about whether you can keep your alpaca calm around loud noises, scary shiny stuff and groups of people touching them.)
And, Costume Class (children only)
Every judge has different tasks and obstacles that they like to set up but here are some common obstacles that you should practice:
this jump is much larger than what I consider average but Tom (my husband) has no trouble getting his alpaca over it.
practice getting your alpaca to walk up any steps and across plywood. This is my 7 year old neighbor handling!
practice putting a cape or towel on the back of your alpaca. Lift cape slowly towards alpaca, let it smell the fabric if it wants and then slowly drape it over. Don't Fling!
This one looks easier than it is because it has no sides! You have to get the alpaca over the middle or they will avoid it like the one you see here. I just jump over it myself and head right for the center.
This one I have never done correctly so ask my son at the show to explain this to you because he does know how. He's about to do it in this photo.
Always lean forward when going under! Never backwards.
Practice backing your alpaca up and note that my son's using the halter as a kind of barrier but not touching the alpaca with his hands. Walk directly towards the alpaca.
If you end up on the side of the animal in this obstacle, don't push! That never works. Step back and then step directly at the alpaca.
Try to make sure all 4 feet are inside the barrier as my daughter is doing here.
Here's one of the most important rules!!! Pay very close attention to everything the judge tells you. If, like me, you have some kind of map dyslexia, make sure you know whether to turn right or left after each obstacle. Or, like me, you may sometimes do everything perfectly but get disqualified for not memorizing the course correctly.
Practice getting your alpaca to step into a ring (could be just the garden hose) and then try to turn the alpaca moving his front legs only and keeping his back legs stationary as if he's pivoting on back legs. Do this by turning TOWARDS your alpaca or INTO your Alpaca if that makes more sense.
Teeter totter thing - this one is easier than it looks just go very slowly.
In addition to these, I would also practice lifting the front leg. Lift it with your right shoulder against the right shoulder of the alpaca and pick it up facing you.
Alpaca Showmansip Dos and Don'ts
Do try to make sure your alpaca has a nice stance when in the ring being shown! This guy Nickleby is standing beautifully and he did win 1st this day! If your guy has his feet crossed or something, try to make him take a step and stand better.
Do try to have nice posture and look relaxed when showing but still make the animal stand the way the judge wants. Also, KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE JUDGE!
Do practice showing the teeth or your alpaca to the judge.
In showmanship, do not be on the same side of your animal as the judge! Switch sides when the judge is on the same side as you as everyone in this photo has done.
Do remember to pose with your ribbon and your animal in the show ring! You will want that photo later! Also, note the clothing here. Most exhibitors wear black and white but it is not mandatory. But Do not wear tennis shoes or sloppy clothes for showmanship and some judges want black halters and leads only!
Do pose with your own customers and take their photos when they win. They'll want a copy of that and you'll want one too. Your customers successes reflect well on what you've sold them and how you've trained them and their animals. Always coach your customers in how to show! This is my friend Judy from Wildwood Alpacas
Don't take this thing too seriously and look all scared! You have to have a sense of humor about showing! It's supposed to be fun. And, definitely,
Don't have hair that resembles your alpaca's hair! This is me my first time ever in the show ring and on a very bad hair day but, in my own defense, I have to say that I believe the hair problem to be the result of a tragic genetic defect passed on from my Mother (see her photo below:)
If you think that I'm being evil to mock the hair of my dearly departed Mom, OK but she thought this photo was very funny too! We used to call these two "the hair twins."
Don't leave the show ring area after you compete. Ask a friend or family member to hold your alpaca and get ready to go back into the show ring to get your ribbon when you are called.
The judge will also ask you one question and we don't know what it will be but I would memorize the alpaca body parts for showmanship class and also know the age and birthdate of your animal. If you are asked how many colors of fleece, the answer is 22. If you'd like to show at the Great Frederick Fair and need a labeled diagram of alpaca body parts e-mailed to you, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will be happy to send you one.
Children in showmanship should be coached on what alpacas eat, (hay, water, grain, pasture) and where they come from (Peru, Bolivia, Chile) as these are common children's questions.
Do hang out INSIDE the alpaca pens with your friends so bring folding chairs, coolers etc. There is plenty of food for sale at all times at the fair. I recommend the chicken and corn soup from the New Market Grange, conveniently located a hundred yards or so from the alpaca pens. The guy on the right in this photo is Bob Lewis, alpaca halter superintendent. Go to him if you have any questions about the show rules.
Don't forget your knitting! Here are members of my knitting club knitting together at the Great Frederick Fair.
Do come and have fun with the rest of us. This is a friendly show where there is always someone to help you out if you need it.
And now you have NO EXCUSE not to show!
[ view entry ] ( 1334 views ) | [ 0 trackbacks ] | permalink | related link | ( 3 / 663 )
Well, we knew it couldn't last forever. Today my two little visiting alpaca gals had to go home with their REAL owner, back to Red Barn Alpacas. We drew blood last weekend and, yesterday received the blood progesterone (pregnancy) results. Cocoa, who was bred to Valentino, had a progesterone level of 3.06, Cotton, who was bred to Nickleby had a level of 3.87 with only 1 try and Cassy, who was also bred to Nickle, had a level of 3.64 also on the 1st try! Good going boys and girls!
If you have heard that many alpaca people just stick their animals in their vans and take off without bothering with the livestock trailer, here's proof! Here's my friend Helen, just putting her two girls (who ARE for sale, by the way,) inside her van and taking off for home.
A little help shoving their furry behinds inside while Helen jumps out and Voila! Porta-Paca! I will miss these two though. They are sweet and lovey-dovey and were a lot of fun to have as visitors. I get attached to all "my" girls even the ones who just come here for breeding.
Part II - DIVINE RETRIBUTION????
Only a few days ago in a Previous Post I was kidding around about the Other Tom Perez (the politician) and saying that I was sick of getting e-mail and calls for him and I ordered his bumper sticker and all that. I WAS only joking, and it's not like I KNOW the guy!
So today my Tom and I went to visit our kids at Catoctin Quaker Camp, part of the
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Camping Program and who should I see standing not 4 feet away from me but THE OTHER TOM PEREZ! His kids are now going to the same camp as my kids! He is not Quaker, nor does he live in Frederick County so I am thinking that this ia a pretty weird coincidence!
The question is, is this a warning from the Supreme being not to tease others or is it just meant to be that our paths would eventually cross due to the name thing? I'm playing it safe and covering both bases. So I have now got the message and will refrain from teasing others on the blog - No, really! OK, maybe not.
Part 3 - Comments
If any of you were wondering (like me) whether or not people can see the comments you leave, the answer is No. This blogging software stinks and I am thinking that I should upgrade to Media Wiki but, in the time being, if you post a comment, I will cut it and paste it in here even if it is, God Forbid, negative. I promise.
[ view entry ] ( 766 views ) | [ 0 trackbacks ] | permalink | related link | ( 3 / 583 )
Here, for example is a comment from Ms. Smarty Pants, Sue Ives. YES! I am naming you as the culprit Sue - Ha! - but I will give you a plug for your own web site because I'm that nice of a person. (Laugh out Loud) Also, I am very jealous that you have a blog and seem to actually know how your own blogging software works! And the address for that web site and blog would be AlpacasofNottinghamHollow.com
SUE'S COMMENT REGARDING MY FREDERICK FAIR POST:
Great blog Kate! Now tell us what you really feel! ROFL
Thank you for sharing with us. I wish you all the success imaginable for The Great Frederick Fair Alpaca Show.
Blog owner's note: For those of you not "in the know" ROFL means "Rolling on the Floor Laughing".
[ view entry ] ( 855 views ) | [ 0 trackbacks ] | permalink | ( 3 / 595 )
We were close to running out when we arranged to make an emergency hay trip to our neighbor and friend who owns a beautiful dairy farm. Since it has been about 100 degrees the last few days, we waited until evening to get the hay, hoping for the temperature to drop to, Oh, let's say 85 degrees or something bearable like that. But then we realized that a storm was approaching and our lovely hay might be getting wet before we ever got it into our barn so we raced out to the dairy.
the milking parlour but all the pretty Holsteins are already gone back to the fields. I LOVE cows! And I desperately want a holstein of my own but I don't want to milk!
Our mission? Pick up the hay and get it into our barn BEFORE the storm arrived and made our lovely hay a soggy mess.
I climbed up into the hay wagon and started throwing bales down from the top of the pile while my husband and the dairy owner stacked them in our flatbed trailer. It's impossible to seem at all dignified when you are balanced on top of a huge pile of hay, trying to keep your footing, throwing hay bales down below you and hoping not to tumble down the pile yourself so don't even try! But we got about 50 bales down in a very short time all the while listening to the ominous rumble of the approaching storm. The sky was darkening rapidly when we tied the bales together and jumped back into the truck to drive home.
We raced back to the farm ahead of the approaching storm and Tom positioned the truck and trailer so that he could back them right into the barn. Forget about unloading the hay, we just hoped to get it inside before the rain descended.
I ran to the barn to open the doors and guide the trailer in while Tom backed up the hill. If there was some sort of contest at the fair for guys who can back up a trailer at practically full speed and still guide it precisely where they wanted it to go, Tom would surely win. And, it isn't easy because, when you're backing a trailer, you have to turn the wheel the opposite way from the way you want it to turn, something I, myself, could never manage to do. Back up a hill with the trailer and guide it inside a door with inches to spare on either side? Forget about it! Tom made it look easy though.
I couldn't believe how lucky we were going to get! The storm was upon us but the first drops waited until just AFTER the trailer cleared the door of the barn and the hay made it inside! The alpacas were somewhat non-plussed to see a big truck and trailer INSIDE the barn. "What the heck is that?!!", they seemed to be thinking.
My job was to stand in the back of the barn and yell when Tom got within 2 feet of the back doors.
Then, it came. Huge sheets of rain, moving in waves across the fields, lightening, thunder and fairly large pellets of hail were all around us and the wind blustering through the barn but the hay was safe! What a thrill! These are the little adventures that make our lives so entertaining and satisfying and we owe it all to the alpacas!
[ view entry ] ( 793 views ) | [ 0 trackbacks ] | permalink | ( 3 / 169 )