Sorry about last nights slightly sombre report, I was in a pretty grim mood. By way of a quick update the preliminary PM results show a huge E-Coli infection in both the stomach and the lungs. The full report will hopefully be available later today. In the meantime, with Dee, mother of our best female (Reeya), currently 358 days pregnant we will be hitting the cria (when it finally arrives) with anti-biotics on arrival as a precautionary measure. She will no doubt produce a gobsmackingly gorgeous female so we need to be on the ball.
Right enough serious talk, back to the drivel that you are more used to!
So this past weekend was the rather grandly titled Alpaca 2012 Show organised by the South West Alpaca Group (SWAG).
Grandly titled and grandly held. It was a cracking show. The changes made from last year worked splendidly with all the animals under the one roof. Three judges whirred away and although it was a later finish on both days than planned it was a great show with around 340 alpacas entered.
We had taken the four boys that we took to the Futurity, Sherwood and Sultan in the junior browns and the Mighty Roger Resilient and Rafiki in the intermediate brown males. Both sets of boys were in large classes and the competition was tough. Once again there were several show teams larger than our entire herd!
The main thing on the agenda for the Mighty Patou was the debut appearance of the Warrior son Angus. Yes, it was time to unleash the one time Jedi Knight but mostly now Magnificent Wizard on the general public. Angus has been halter training little Woody and agreed to show him, not only in the junior handler class but also in the main show as well. Sue and I were as proud as punch to see Angus and Woody enter the ring with so much confidence and obvious pleasure. Sadly the junior boys just weren't good enough on the day to pick up a rosette but they are improving all the time.
Angus and Woody in the junior brown male class.
Sue and I were getting a bit twitchy by now (well I was anyway), no rosettes (or mini ribbons in this case) and only the two big boys to come. We have never come away from a show with nothing, but there's a first time for everything. Considering what was going on in the background at home (or at the vets) we needed some glory, we needed something tangible, we needed ribbons, any ribbons would do, we just needed something! Then came the junior handler class. Of course - a guaranteed ribbon! Angus took Woody in but was up against some pretty tough operators.
Gus answering the questions from the junior handler judges. He was carrying out my instructions to look as cute as he could.
However, he was up against some past masters in this particular class. In fact he was up against the South West Champions if not National Champions at this discipline. He was up against Chris and Isla May!
Chris and Isla May have been coached down at the Amiryck International School of junior handling for several years where they have faced day after day of rigorous questioning and coaching. I saw a documentary on it once, it is akin to training for the Special Forces. These two are tough and ruthless. They are professionals, Gus never stood a chance. Third place though was good enough for the future leader of the Patou herd, he was chuffed and his ribbon has taken pride of place in his bedroom. He also received a lovely message via Facebook from Christopher May which was absolutely brilliant. What stars he and his sister are. We all thought that was absolutely superb.
Angus getting his ribbon from the judge with Chris and Isla. Well done to all of you!
So we were then coming to the business end of the show. After a scan of the arena I had already awarded Rafiki the 'tallest alpaca in show' trophy, another to add to his Futurity trophy. They're imaginary of course but then so are most of my awards.
It was soon time for the intermediate brown males and with a class of eight it was going to be tough (since when did we have 8 entries in the Intermediate brown male class?????)
Not only that but Herts Alpacas Nigel, the Futurity winner, was here and I couldn't see an opportunity to nobble him, security was just too tight. I was able to check him out at the NEC and he is a very nice male.
With my days in the ring coming to an end we recruited Vicky from Snooks Farm Alpacas to take Roger Resilient into the ring whilst Sue took Rafiki (her favourite nuzzler) into the ring. Thanks Vicky!
Sue and Vicky waiting to enter the ring. Just look at the size of him! That is a wall of alpaca!
After much deliberation Nigel was once again victorious and a worthy winner. But our boys did us proud by coming second and third! Fantastic news for us!
Obviously my plan for total domination worldwide in the brown alpaca category needs a little tweaking but we are still on the right road and we will carry on fighting! North Somerset next!