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!