Alpaca Trading Post ~ Read Our Opinion

natsuri

In 2003, we entered our first show (largest in USA) with probably the dirtiest alpaca in attendance (… their coats were tinted orange by the clay of our freshly drilled pastures and their knees & elbows/hocks were soiled black and green during the trailer ride) and we were almost embarrassed by the glares people gave us, which seemed to resonate a sense of jest, (“country bumpkins came to town,” as it were) as we trod among the perfectly presented and some visibly groomed competitors. When our natural alpaca made the judge’s cut to the top six in each large class, the ribbons achieved made us proud, and undoubtedly perplexed owners of the gleaming, coifed suris. That was in 2002, a time when the show rules clearly read “no conditioner and/or no enhancers of any kind“– a rule that has been continuously reiterated and/or stringently redefined each year thereafter. The rule’s clarity was not questioned; it was clearly written and verbally explained at shows. Yet, although few breeders openly admitted to the practice of grooming their show alpaca, (just as some movie stars never admit to the occasional nip and tuck they’ve undergone), some of the exceptionally brilliant alpaca appeared as though they had been secretly visiting the same plastic surgeons as those famous Hollywood stars!
A following year, at the same show, we witnessed the same judge, dismiss alpaca that were apparently groomed with luster-enhancing products, and we were pleased to witness AOBA certified judges following AOBA’s directive by not placing the suspect alpaca or by placing the suspect alpaca in a lower ranking.  When one lonesome competitor in a class received a second place ribbon, the judge’s explanation that accompanied that ribbon sent a very loud and clear message.  (Great job, Judge!)  Gradually, we began to witness judges using carefully chosen words to explain their reasons behind putting a suspect alpaca at the bottom of its class, or for giving a 2nd place ribbon when it was the only alpaca in the class. We applaud these judges for doing the right thing to help keep the show system a valid method of comparison among alpaca entered in the shows, and we hope the judges will continue to recognize the groomed alpaca, to discriminate against the obviously groomed alpaca, and to continue their efforts to help deter this form of cheating at shows.
Although we don’t recommend that any buyer base their purchase decision solely on the show ribbons attained by an alpaca, we do utilize the show system, to some degree, as a tool for comparison of our breeding program results with those of other breeders. From time to time, we may also use the judge’s selection of show champions as a starting point to help narrow our search for potential herdsire candidates. Unlike dog shows, where the winning ribbon is often meaningless (chosen for political influences over quality of breed) it is our desire to maintain an alpaca show system whereby the first place and champion ribbons truly mean “the best of that class”.  Through celebration of the natural suri, we want our show system to remain a useful tool for serious breeders to potentially identify some of the elite alpaca in the USA.
Dedicated to continuous improvement of the suri breed in North America, we implore every proud alpaca show participant, … “Go buff!” or don’t go at all.
…“Eau naturale” is the only way to go.


Kim & Mike Montjoy