Last weekend was the annual SWAG (South West Alpaca Group) spring show and there were over 400 alpacas entered. It's one of our favourite shows and Poppy, Amelie and Alacazam were ready to fly the flag for the mighty Patou.
We nearly pulled out at the last minute as all our thoughts have been concentrated on Lily and the weather and not missing out on giving her the best possible care and attention but the decision was made, the team were ready, it was game on.
The plan was that I was going to set off at 6am on the Saturday with the team. Sue and Angus were going to make sure Lily was fed and set for the day and then follow on.
The day didn't start or finish well, but we had a cracking middle bit!
I had finished work at 2am and so only had what seemed like 2 minutes sleep before the alarm woke me. It was raining and with everything else on our minds we had left the show team out in the rain. Great start, wet show team. I then had to get the trailer into place in the dark. Tantrum time, not pretty.
On arrival we were vet checked and then sraight out into the sun for some drying off time. Poor Al in particular was soaked and he was first into the ring. It was great to be amongst alpacas on a large scale again. Meeting up with old friends, making new ones, great stuff.
Al was in a huge class of 19 junior black males. 19 folks! That is some serious competition.
Anyway suffice it to say that little Al did his best but was excused from the ring when the judge reduced the numbers to select the rosette winners.
Never mind, we had our two brown girls to come. Proven rosette winners, they were ready and as I entered the ring Sue and Angus turned up. We were boosted by the back up team's arrival. We stood a little taller, our chests out a little further, we set about commanding the ring. There were some super little brown girls in there and it was tremendous to see our friend Karen pick up second place with little Cinnamon and third place with her other girl Clover. Our little Amelie bagged the fourth place. Nice one guys! With our big gun Poppy to come we were in the game, we fancied our chances of bagging another rosette.
Poppy looked great and did her stuff. It was a close run thing but she took second place!
As I have said before we only have 16 alpacas of our own and compete against breeders with hundreds. To win two rosettes at the futurity and then at the SWAG show is fantastic for us and really underlines the fact that our breeding programme is working. Sue and Angus left late in the afternoon to get back to sort Lily out and I spent the night in the back of the trailer. I have never been so cold in my entire life but as my teeth chattered and my muscles quivered I was trying desperately hard to smile, it had been another great day for the mighty Patou.