Yesterday we attended the first day of the South West Alpaca Group Spring Show, a high quality show with 300 or so alpacas entered. The first day was the coloured alpacas day. The Show Team was ready after much thought in preparation.
We had decided to travel up on the morning of the show. It meant getting up at 4am but we wanted the alpacas going into the ring in tip top condition and this seemed the way to do it. They were a little damp on arrival but soon dried off in the warm spring sunshine in the outdoor pen we made next to the Mighty Incas.
They looked good. First up would be Ruby May in the junior black female. I was excited, so excited I could hardly contain myself. Ruby looked fantastic. It was a big class and I was in good company, sandwiched between the glamour girls of Inca, Karen and Tara, with Euphoria and Enigma respectively. Three Jack of Spades girls the first three into the ring.
The anticipation of the competition as Tara and Enigma set off first.
In a quiet moment I share a few words of inspiration with Ruby May. How good does she look!
So, the first three in, became.....THE FIRST THREE! Second place to Ruby behind Euphoria with Enigma in third! WHAT A START!!
Next in was little Patou Rico, again a big class, stiff competition.
We took a moment to pose for the camera as the Show Judge, Kathy Lloyd examined a fellow combatant. No picture of the awarding but little Rico picked up a fourth place!
Next in was Reeya, junior brown female. Reeya is beautiful. I think she is the best we have ever produced and despite her fifth place at The Futurity I believe she is better than that, she is a star.
Again a big class and Reeya was awarded second place. Once again splitting the two Inca girls, Inca Elise and Inca Encore. Fourth place for Amiryck Evening Primrose who was expertly handled by Isla May!
For the Patou, Inca, Amirick triumvirate it was turning out to be a pretty good day!
Roger Resilient was up next, sadly, as I was in the ring practically all day, Sue was running around getting the alpacas lined up for me and couldn't photograph Roger as he competed in his big class. Regular readers may remember that this was to be the big Patou v Popham clash, the battle of the brown boys. Unfortunately Gary's boys have fallen by the wayside, his final contender being bumped to fawn at The Futurity. Graciously Gary conceded defeat and Roger was able to focus. I have to say he looked as good as he ever has as he went in, and bugger me he snaffled second place! I have to say I can't remember who came first, I can't even remember who else was in the ring. My mind was on other things. My mind was on the big one. I could see Sue waiting in the holding area with the big boy. Van Diemen Qjori of Patou was about to make his first entry into a UK show ring. It was the moment that I have been waiting for. I could feel the emotion building, I am welling up writing this, how ridiculous is that?
IT WAS QJORI TIME.
Here he is, the moment in my memory is all a bit of a blur.
Kathy having a good look at Qjori, who's name caused a bit of a problem with the ring commentator!
Qjori was awarded first place and in this picture you can see a large brown alpaca next to a large bald man quietly blubbing away as tears of joy hit the show ring floor. Just prior to that shot I had looked up and seen Angus leaping about with joy in the stands. It was the one that really mattered. It was the big one. We all knew it. I couldn't help myself.
Next was the Championship. I had already been in for the black female Championship with Ruby, the brown female Championship with Reeya and now I was in the brown male Championship with not only Qjori but also Roger Resilient. Luckily I had already anticipated the problem and Gary from Popham kindly agreed to take little Roger in. How ironic? Thanks Gary.
Roger with Gary far left and me and Qjori far right as Kathy judges the brown championship.
Again I'm afraid it is all a bit of a blur as Qjori was awarded the Reserve Champion Ribbon. The winner was a an intermediate male, Classical Mileend Prometheus, who I have to say looked very nice. A bit more fleece on Qjori and who knows? It was bloody close though and some of the things that the judge (did I mention that Kathy Lloyd is my new favourite judge in the wholewide world?) said about Qjori really were absolutely fantastic. She actually told the audience that they should all experience the feel of Qjori's fleece, the handle, she said, was stunning.
On exiting the ring something happened that has never happened to me before. Qjori and I were surrounded by people wanting to have a look at him, people wanting to touch him, it was extraordinary. A fantastic feeling that I would very much like to experience again!
It is 17 months since Sue, Angus and me saw a young Qjori in a field in Tasmania. We saw in him something special and simply had to have him as part of the Patou herd. Earlier this week he carried out his first mating. Yesterday he repaid our faith in him. He will be competing at The Bath and West and The Devon County and if I'm honest I can't wait.
So to sum up, a great show for us, 5 animals entered - 1 x Reserve Champion, 1 x First, 3 x Seconds and a fourth. It is a splendid venue and splendidly organised by Lyndsey Skinner. We will sadly miss the second day as I am laid low with a gout attack.
I also had the privilege of taking Old Stour Edwina's Journey into the ring. She is a gorgeous little fawn girl who has been living and training with the Mighty Patou Show team this year.
In a very large class she took first place and then went on to take the Reserve Champion ribbon. Congratulations to her owners Ivan and Gill who were very very happy with their first big win and also to Sara and Morris at Appledene Alpacas, who are the owners of her sire Commandante and I know are equally happy with the result!
And finally.... congratulations to Dave and Joy from Apple Vale on their new purchase!