Proud Llamas

Llamas, llamas, llamas at the Stephens County fairgrounds this weekend during the Central Regional Llama Show.

By Derrick Miller

A new show animal made an appearance in Stephens County over the weekend.

The Central Regional Llama Show took place Saturday and Sunday at the Stephens County fairgrounds. The Duncan location was chosen for the event because of the facilities available and friendliness of the staff.

Danny Lowrance, fairgrounds director, said, “This is a new thing for us. The show organizers seem to be happy. So far, they say they’re planning on coming back next year.”

This year’s event coordinator, Sharon Carrier, began looking for a facility that would accommodate the number of llamas and selected the location after looking at three fairgrounds, her daughter, Kristie Stewart, said.

“This is the first time we took on the llama show,” Stewart said. “We went on a search for a great facility and this one has been very considerate to us.”

The objective of the regional show was to determine who would continue on to the national competition in Lincoln, Neb. It featured representatives from 51 farms in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Illinois competing.

Although llamas are somewhat different from other animals that have shown at the fairgrounds, Lowrance said preparing for the animals was like setting up for a horse show with a few changes.

“Since they’re all haltered, you don’t have to have as many pens (fences),” he said.

The arena, which is usually closed off with a 10-foot fence, required only 3-foot fencing at the corners during the llama show. The only reason a fence was used was to give a visual layout of the showing area.

Members of the Duncan High School 4-H club tended to the concession stand and took breaks to watch the llama show. Cody Earls, treasurer, said it was different from showing other animals.

“With goats, you walk around them and have to set them up,” Earls said.

He said he found not having to move the llamas’ feet to put them in proper position to be odd because with other animals, such as cattle, stance is important.

In the showmanship competition, the judging was based on how well the people could handle their llamas. The halter portion of the show was based on the proportions of the animals, including the neck to back junction or length of the neck, and the overall stature.

Carrier said she has shown only llamas and wasn’t aware of a difference in the way the animals were shown. She chose llamas because her aunt had llamas when Carrier was younger.

“I fell in love with just the whole animal,” she said. “They don’t require much attention other than maybe shearing them once or twice a year.”

Stewart said not much went into caring for the animals.

“You have to shear them up in the summer,” she said. “In the winter, they’re pretty much fine. They love the cold winter.

“But in the summer, you need to shear them around the mid-section, although some people shear their entire bodies. And some people ship them off to Colorado.”

She said proper feeding and watering of the animals is also important in raising them.

Stewart said she found showing the llamas to be a good experience for her family.

“We did this to pretty much get out of the house and to get the family involved,” she said. “It’s a good family thing to do.”

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