A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 20, 2009

So Where Have We Been?

Well that is a good question!  We have not actually been anywhere but have been dealing with various things at home and time has been short.

This last week we had contractors show up unannounced to install bay windows in our living room and master bedroom.  We had purchased the windows back in July and it has taken until now to get to the top of the contractors list.  While it is good to be having our windows installed a little notice would have been nice!

The new windows will make our view of the girls pasture even better and it is amazing how much bigger and brighter the rooms seem since they were installed.  We can cria watch in style now.

Along with the contractors we have also had puppy Blue back to the vet again.  It seems she has quite a sensitive stomach which is not helped by her wanting to eat everything she comes across.  We thought we were making some progress with her but tried a tiny amount of a different dog food on Friday and she is back to having an upset stomach – looks like I will be cooking meals for a little dog as well as humans as she seems to do fine on cooked chicken.

We have also been busy buying alpacas – a couple for us and a couple for a client of ours.  More on that in later posts, but my search for a black male alpaca is over!

Ric has been busy preparing for the New Mexico State Fair and the show program is now coming together.  He will leave for Albuquerque on Wednesday to get things set up at the show grounds before the exhibitors start arriving on Friday.  I will be staying at the farm, looking after alpacas and cooking for dogs.  If you are attending the State Fair make sure you go and say hello to Ric and I am sure he will be happy to see you.

So life has been a little time consuming (are we getting older or are the days really getting shorter and going by quicker?), but that’s how life goes sometimes and before long everything is back on track.

Contractors and sick puppies permitting I hope to resume the posts to the blog in the coming week.


August 6, 2009

It’s Almost Showtime Again


With summer rushing past us it will soon be time for the fall show season. For New Mexico that means the New Mexico State Fair that features an alpaca show as part of the activities.


We always try to attend the New Mexico State Fair as it is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, making it our closest show.


It is a pity that the show always happens in the last few weeks of summer as that is the time that many New Mexico alpaca breeders have crias due, making it difficult to leave their farms. Depending on when the farm’s alpacas were shorn it may also mean that their alpacas do not have enough fleece length to qualify for the halter classes (where both fleece and conformation are judged). There are shorn classes available but most alpaca breeders prefer their alpacas to compete in the halter classes.


This year for us the show will be a little different as Ric is the Show Superintendent. As the Show Superintendent Ric will be responsible for verifying all of the entries, building the classes and ensuring that the show program is changed as necessary. Ric’s work will keep him busy during the show, the night before the show will be particularly busy and I am sure Ric will be working long into the night to ensure that the class list is correct and printed off for the exhibitors before the show begins.


The New Mexico State Fair is a small show compared to other shows where Ric has been the Show Superintendent, so I am sure it will not be too much of a challenge to him, however he is having to work within the mechanism of the State Fair and so there will be some differences in how things are handled.


Due to a problem with the State Fair website last weekend, the State Fair had agreed to extend the deadline for Online Entries for the New Mexico State Fair through Sunday, August 9 so if you were thinking of entering the alpaca show at the State Fair you still have time to enter. Just go to the New Mexico Alpaca Breeders website and follow the links to the State Fair (or Expo New Mexico as it is now called!).


Ric and I are still trying to decide if we will enter alpacas into the show. When Ric is the Show Superintendent at a show we have to be careful that we don’t cross any ethical boundaries. Usually if we do enter alpacas at a show where Ric is the show superintendent then we have someone else take the alpacas into the show ring for us. Of course we also have to consider who will look after the farm if we both go to the show, but we better hurry up and make our minds up before the extended Show Entry Deadline expires!



January 25, 2008

Those Pesky Forms!

The extended entry deadline for the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular is today.   This means that online registration through the TxOLAN website will be closed at midnight tonight and any paperwork relating to an entry to the show has to be postmarked with today’s date.

The show deadline was extended from January 15 to January 25 due to the website being down for a couple of days, but what is amazing to me is the number of entries that have been submitted since the original entry deadline.  There were a lot of people either waiting until the last minute to register for the show or who decided to come to the show at the last minute.  Now, alpaca breeders are notorious at being late at submitting their entries, but I think this is the biggest last minute rush I have seen so far!

Submitting entry forms to an alpaca show should be an easy thing, and once you have entered a couple of shows you get the hang of it quite easily.  To someone new to alpaca shows though it can be daunting.  I can still remember looking at the forms for the first show we entered and wondering what on earth I was supposed to do with them.

As the alpaca show system has become more refined, so it seems that there is more required on each form and more to be done to ensure entry to the show.

At the first show we entered we basically needed to know our animals name, date of birth, color and their ARI (Alpaca Registry Inc.) number.   You then had to figure out which class to enter and put that information on your form too.  At that time it was not unusual to be showing your alpaca in a class of one, which meant that you got a blue ribbon, but there wasn’t much worth behind it, as you didn’t have any competition.

These days all of that information is required, but also needed is the alpacas parentage information, the alpacas shearing date, copies (note the use of the plural) of the alpacas ARI certificate and a disclaimer statement regarding any business you may have done with a show judge.  Then there is the health paperwork too – proof of BVDV testing, a record of the alpaca’s microchip number, a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, any health test results required by the state you are traveling too – the list just keeps growing!

Along the way there have been the forms that have been discarded, such as the one that had a veterinarian declare that the male alpacas had two testicles, the female alpaca only four teats and that none of the alpacas had umbilical hernias.

The paperwork is so much for shows that I now have a special folder in which I keep all of the paperwork for the show that we are next traveling too.  From the day that I register for the show, this is the folder where everything goes, from copies of the show forms and health papers to hotel reservations.  The folder is invaluable, but heaven help me the day I accidentally leave it at home!

I can truly sympathize with the alpaca breeder who is attending their first show.  There is a lot to remember to do in preparation for the show, and a lot to do at the show.  Fortunately alpaca breeders are a friendly bunch and are usually more than ready to help each other out, especially when they discover it is someone’s first show.

As show superintendents for the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular, Ric and I are responsible (amongst other things) for checking the correct paperwork is received, creating a database of the show entries, sorting the entries into their appropriate groups and also creating a class schedule.  I will give you three guesses what Ric and I are going to be doing this weekend (and most likely into the beginning of next week) – processing all of those entry forms!


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