Deborah and Brian Shannon, owners of Sweet Clover Alpaca located in Conway, attended the annual Alpacas in the Ozarks regional show in Fayetteville a few weeks ago.
This show is held during gives smaller alpaca farms with children an inexpensive venue to bring their alpaca to compete in Halter, Fleece Spin-Off and Youth Obstacle Competitions.
Sweet Clover brought three young alpaca to the show and each animal placed in the ribbons. Two took blue and one brought home a white for third place.
The farm has 17 alpaca and is open for visitors by appointment, call 501-269-4425.
All three Alpaca were competing in Full Fleece Halter competitions. Sinclair is a 2-year-old male and beige. He took a first-place ribbon. Alyssa is a yearling female and white. She also took a first-place ribbon. Zorro is a yearling male and true black. He took a third-place ribbon.
There are different ways of competing in alpaca shows. They are as follows:
1. Halter (Full Fleece in Fall through Spring or Shorn in Summer).
2. Fleece from the spring shearing.
3. Spin-off Fleece (where the judge will prepare a spun piece of yarn and judge that).
4. Performance/ Obstacle.
5. Composite (Shorn Alpaca and their Fleece).
They are shown according to sex/age group and color.
The animals are judged on confirmation and fleece characteristics. (Either a 50/50 or 40/60 scale depending of the judges preference). Confirmation is based on the proper dimensions and attributes to the alpaca. Fleece is judged on diameter/ micron count, brightness, staple length growth since last shearing, crimp/ wave, textile strength, true color throughout the whole fleece.