National Western Stock Show ended about one month ago. Stock show is fun. It can be stupid expensive (nachos $9.00 plus $2.00 for small scoop of guacamole plus $2.00 for a small scoop of sour cream. $13.00 for nachos?! Well ,they were tasty and they did feed four of us so I guess its not all bad.) but there are some good deals and its fun. This was the first years we were there as exhibitors.
My brother in-law and his wife have two daughters and four llamas. The have been showing llamas with their daughters for a quite a while and one of the shows they always did was National Western. This year they were officially empty nesters. To ease the transition into empty-nesterdom they invited my daughters to show their llamas at the stock show this year. My daughters were a little unsure since we have horses and we know even less about llamas than we do horses! But they were game and they said yes.
So off to stock show we go. The first day was just move the llamas into their pens and clean them up. If you think grooming your horse is a chore, try grooming a llama. You will never complain about grooming your horse again. Ever. No matter how much mud they roll in. To groom a llama for show you start by blowing out the coat using a livestock blower. (Actually this blower is REALY cool. So cool, in fact, that I bought one for my horse. No matter how much I brush the chestnut mare, I cannot get all of the dust out of her. This will help. It can also be used to dry your horse after a bath.) Before you turn on the blower make sure you are wearing a dust mask. Also make sure that you are not standing anywhere near somebody who as already washed their llama. The dust comes off in clouds. If that dust settles on a clean llama, well, lets just say tensions run a bit high at show time.
After fifteen or so minutes of blowing its off to the wash stall. National Western has great wash stalls for the animals, they are all supplied with heated water. So you break out the shampoo and get to work. Ever seen how sad a wet cat looks? That is pretty much what a wet llama looks like. They are pretty tiny animals when their coats are all wet. Anyway, a half hour later its back to a dry stall, out comes the stock blower and you set to work drying your soggy llama. After about another half hour of drying, out come the brushes. I think they spent about two hours brushing the llamas. So it took most of the day to groom two llamas. And this was the basic grooming because all were were showing were performance class and public relations. The folks where showing in the top level show classes easily spent three times the amount of time brushing that we did. In fact, they spent every free minute brushing out their llamas. Those llamas have to be absolutely perfect. And after all that brushing, they looked, well, perfect.
Since we weren't showing in the top show classes we had time to wonder around. We found The Instigator a knife, Tira-Toes needed new boots so we found those, I found a sign maker and we had some decals made for the trailer. Once I get the trailer clean, we will put our horses names on the back of the trailer and under Beamer's name, we will put the Westernaires team names he has been through. We munched on nachos and mini-donuts and drank fresh squeezed lemonade. The next day was show day.
Now this is the first time we have shown any animal any place and the first time we have ever done more than just look at the llamas from across the fence. We didn't really care if we won or lost, we were just having fun. Turns out, we didn't to to bad.
The Instigator was showing a llama named Tazo. Tazo was, shall we say, a bit distracted. Out of a class of five, he finished 4th, 5th and 4th. Better than we expected and The Instigator had fun and said she would do it again next year. She wants to to better next year because the 4th place ribbons are pink and she hates pink. Here is The Instigator and Tazo and their ribbons.
Tira-Toes had bit better luck. Her llama, Doc, was more focused. So out of a class of four or five, she placed 3rd, 2nd and 2nd. This was good enough for her to reserve champion or second place over-all. Not bad for a first show. While the judging was going on she had wondered over to the ribbon table and was admiring the purple (okay, the lavender ribbons but to the average guy, that's purple) ribbons for champion and reserve champion. She wished she could get one of those so it was a pleasent surprise when she did. Here is Tira-Toes, Doc and their ribbons.
So we would like to say a very special and heart felt thanks to Uncle Dale, Aunti Gretchen, cousins Mariko and Midori at at Okashi Llams for sharing their llamas with us.