I eventually decided to take the girls up on Saturday night, they would be dry after a long day in the sun and would be kept out of the overnight frost. It meant that when they arrived in the ring they would be dry.
I had also decided that I would not lead them into the ring. The judge was my good mate His Royal Timness and I thought it would be better if we didn't come face to face in the ring.
Therefore I needed a handler. Someone who knew the animals, someone who knew about alpacas, someone with show ring experience. I also needed someone totally unconnected to the Patou herd and someone who could show them off to the full in the ring.
I chose.........................................my mate Graham.
Graham didn't exactly fit the selection criteria. He had never touched an alpaca before, he looks like a slimmer taller version of me and he doesn't like being told what to do. Oh and he's suffering from a very painful bad back which is worse when he has to stand still. Perfect!
To make matters slightly more challenging we went out on Saturday night and had a skinful. Doing it all with a hangover seemed like the best thing to do.
We checked out of our hotel early on Sunday morning and arrived at the showground just after 7am. The girls were damp but it was sunny so we found some hurdles and got them out into the sun. Nice.
The girls had been checked over by the show organisers (who did a marvellous job by the way), Nick Weber and Lindsey Skinner, ably assisted by Gary Naish sporting a rather curious new hair arrangement. Despite my sneakiest tactics Penny was bumped from the brown intermediate class to the fawn class. She looks light brown sometimes and dark fawn at other times. C'est la vie. However it also meant that my top handler could show both girls.
So, first up in the second class of the day was Patou Amelie, our big gun. She behaves like a dream in the ring, is very calm and looks the business. Graham took her in and I watched from afar. The main challenge was Bozedown Daisy May who had beaten Millie at the Futurity. Fair enough she beat Millie again, density being the main difference. Still with a second place rosette we could have a crack at the Championship. The other brown girls returned . Daisy May picked up the Champion ribbon and Graham advanced into the front row to contest the reserve.
Come on my son!! Yes, Millie was declared the Reserve Champion! Woohoo!! Graham immediately bonded with Millie and declared alpaca showing as easy peasy!
We returned to our 'outside pen' to find Penny being looked after by Maurice and Sara from Appledene Alpacas. Apparently she didn't like being left on her own, despite there being alpacas all over the place including pens to the left and right. No, she kicked off big time. She kicked the hurdles, kicked over the water bucket, ripped off her show number, in short she threw a right old wobbly. Oh and she also rolled in the water that had been in the bucket before she kicked it over. Still never mind we had a few hours before the fawns were to be shown, she would dry out again. After lunch and there was quite a bit of decision changing about who was going to take Penny into the ring. Graham was not so keen as she had revealed herself to be a bit of a Psycho and Maurice who had kindly offered to do the job had now seen Penny's 'other side'. The general 'suggestion' was that I should do it as I knew her.
After a bit of persuasion Graham, the main man, girded his loins and said he would take her in. Good lad!
It was a class of 8 fawn girls and some of them looked pretty good from where I was standing. I wasn't expecting anything but knew that Penny was looking at her best. Penny, true to form, kicked off in the ring and Graham was given some stern words of advice from Tim who's patience with a whirling Penny was wearing a bit thin.
After careful deliberation Penny was awarded second place! Fantastic! That meant that she would also have a crack at a championship ribbon! Could it happen? No, that would be asking too much and it was. Still two second places and a reserve champion ribbon from a two alpaca show team was a great result for the Mighty Patou! I was very pleased and very proud of our girls.
I did enter the ring myself later as Maurice and Sara from Appledene had asked me to show their awesome male Eringa Park Commandant. What a super looking male he is and what an absolute privilege it was to parade him in the ring. He was just pipped to the fawn Championship by a Bozedown stunner but Commandant is an elite top quality male, I liked him a great deal and would have loved to have taken him home! Thanks to Maurice and Sara for allowing me to show him.
It was great meeting everyone again and I think it was a cracking show not just taking our results into account.
Next up The Royal Bath and West! Bring it on!