A variety of alpacas coated in black, brown, tan and white fleece were shown off this weekend at the Carroll County Agriculture Center in Westminster for the MA & PA Alpaca Pronk, hosted by the Pennsylvania Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association and the Maryland Alpaca Breeders Association.
The “pronk” part of the show’s name refers to a stiff-legged jump that baby alpacas, known as crias, often do while playing in pastures. Both huacaya and suri alpacas were showcased throughout the center this weekend.
The event featured 4-H youth being judged in a show ring on showmanship, obstacles and an alpaca costume contest, as well as halter and walking fleece shows for adults, a photo contest, a silent auction and handmade clothing made from alpaca fleece for sale.
Alpacas were judged for their color, fleece luster and texture, size and walk and the best were awarded prizes.
Chris Works, of Kendall Creek Farms in Bradford, Pennsylvania, has been participating in alpaca shows for more than two decades.
Works competed in the halter classes, which judges alpacas based on their fleece and size. He showcased seven alpacas – six males and one female.
Works said he wanted to participate in the show to see how his alpacas fared against those at other farms.
“It’s a competitive event and you get to find out how your alpacas are doing and how they rate with other farms’ production,” he said. “If you are lucky enough to place highly, that adds accolades to your alpacas and improves their reputation in the alpaca industry.”
Kevin Stover of The Wood Farm in Franklin, Pennsylvania, has been participating in a number of alpaca shows around the country for 15 years.
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Participating in the halter classes and walking fleece events, which judge alpacas solely on their fleece, he showcased four alpacas – two male and two female.
Having previously raised other livestock, he said he likes alpacas because they require less maintenance.
“I’ve had goats, I’ve had cows, I’ve had horses and [alpacas] are by far the easiest to work with of any animal I’ve ever had,” he said.
Phil Liske of Outstanding Dream’s Farm in Preston in Caroline County and his alpaca, Outstanding Dream’s Party Animal, won second place in the halter classes event.
Outstanding Dream’s Party Animal, a reddish-brown huacaya with crimped fleece, was one of five alpacas he showcased in the event.
Liske said events such as the alpaca show add value to the community.
“What I like is that it’s a livestock industry where the animals produce a valuable product, but you don’t have to slaughter them to harvest it,” he said. “So once a year for their whole life they give a crop, which is their fiber, which is turned into luxurious clothing that doesn’t harm the animals.”