The first show of the year is almost upon us.
The season starts for us with the Mount Pleasant Show on 21st March. Due to the time of year it's judged under short fleece rules. That makes it a show that, despite being a fairly small one (150-200 animals usually), is considered quite important as the overall standard of the animal is as important as the fleece.
So here's the team:
Our Jolimont Warrior boy, just over a year old now. We've just had to reclassify him for colour (hoping that the registration will be through in time, otherwise it could be a disqualification). He spent last year as a black; but after many arguments we've agreed that he is a very dark brown. It's been a difficult call, his fleece, at the skin, is black, but it immediately fades a tiny bit. So, by the letter of the regulations, he's black, but by the spirit of them, he's dark brown.
I should explain first that we have two herd codes on the farm. The Prados herd is registered to Sarah and yours truly, the other herd - Kobler Alpacas are registered to our son James who's living with us while he finds a property for himself. Drifter is one of his, but we show together.
Drifter is a nearly three year old dark fawn boy with a real macho presence. He's already won a couple of ribbons and with Highlander on both sides of his pedigree he's one of our hopes at this outing.
We really don't know what to make of Choco...
We brought him as a gamble from a breeder who was leaving the business for next to nothing because we thought he had potential. At nearly two, we have to decide what to do with him soon.
He is, without doubt, a good stud male. We've shown him a couple of times and he came away with a second place at both the Colour Classic and the Royal Adelaide Show last year. Trouble is, that they were small classes each time and we're not sure that 'good' is good enough these days.
Mount Pleasant could well decide his future career.
The only Suri that we're taking to the show (our champion boy hasn't got enough fleece back yet even for a short fleece show). Lysander, like Choco, is borderline for whether or not he has stud potential. It's sad in a way, just a few years ago both of these animals would have been champions, the standards have come so far in such a short time that now we're having to ask difficult questions about whether or not they have breeding potential.
One of James' animals, we brought Gypsy for him as a Birthday present and she's a bit special. I think that the best brown female I've seen in South Australia is her full sister Goldie - an amazing animal who is never shown. Gypsy isn't quite as good, but she's close (and we brought their mother as well for ourselves at the same time). The Junior brown female class is larger than it's ever been at this show, but we hope Gypsy will come away with something.
She'll be in the same class as Gypsy. Chorus Girl is another of our Highlander line animals. How she does depends on the competition and the taste of the judge, some think she's over-fleeced around the face. We'll see how it goes.
Our Coonawarra Gladiator girl. Her pedigree reads like a who's who of Australian genetics. But, how can I put this? Just carrying the genes isn't enough. She's in the same class as Gypsy and Chorus Girl. She's probably just going for the ride.
Older, half-sister to Gypsy. Lulu is our wildcard entry - we really haven't got a clue how she'll do. Fingers crossed.
Well, that's the team. We're not entering any fleeces for this one, it's a busy show year ahead and they get pulled apart so much by the judges that we want to save our potential show fleeces for for the big shows later in the year.
I'll let you know how it goes in a couple of weeks...