Took Friday off work and drove down to Pat and Jodi's place to meet Connie of Breezy Ridge Alpacas. She had rigged her van to be an alpaca transport, and it was piled high with hay, tables, stuff to sell, two alpaca, and all the alpaca paraphernalia to care for two animals for three days. Connie had brought Storm, a brown Suri, and Sonic, a white Suri, both juvenile males.
Connie's herd is all Suri alpaca, their fleece looks like dreadlocks. There were far more Huacaya alpaca at the show, which look more poofy and cuddly, and are taller. Jodi and I wandered around and picked out our dream herd. My picks were grey, rose grey, cinnamon, and toasted coconut colour, all Huacayas. Occasionally you will breed two Suri alpaca and get a Huacaya. It won't be good for breeding from, but the fleece will be good. Huacayas and Suris were cross-bred to get more Suri generations ago, and sometimes the Huacaya genes express. This Huacaya was next door to us.
MOPACA was held at the American Royal Arena in Kansas City MO. There was a main arena with the exhibition rings, vendors and some farms, and a second area full of farm stalls. Each farm had at least two animals because alpaca don't like to be alone. If you have to leave one alone in its stall, it gets agitated and hums, and it's a plaintive sound. Our stall also housed Rakestraw, a juvenile male Suri owned by Connie's friend Ann, because you can't put males and females in the same stall. Once the animals were happy, we found our hotel and watched weather forecasts promising anything from zero to twenty inches of snow for Saturday. Not good news for a top-heavy rear-wheel drive van...
When I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool in 2007 I had no idea what went on behind the scenes. The animals have to be tended to, their stalls have to be cleaned, they have to be fed and watered, they need to be cleaned up for the ring and walked for exercise, and all the while people are wandering past looking at them, wanting to pet them, and buying stuff from the display part of the stall. Storm seemed to like the attention, he's Connie's PR guy.