Sunday 3 June 2018

Reserve Champion x 2

Three shows to report on:
North Somerset Show - this usually brings sunshine and showers, sometimes showers that all meet up, however this year, we had a sweltering day. A sun hat for shade was a must. I was Ring Steward for the day, assisting Judge Rob Bettinson and Apprentice Judge Roger Clarke. This meant that Joy would be our handler for our entries, and she did very well, escorting Jupiter to 1st placed Intermediate White Male, and then Reserve Champion in a championship with all age classes represented. Her face in the pictures say it all.
1st Intermediate White Male
Reserve Champion White Male

Devon County Show - this is a 3-day country show where the organizers make the alpaca exhibitors very welcome, with a large marquee, breakfast vouchers, prize money, and this year, our own loos! Again, usually a showery show, but this year the weather was fine throughout. Judge Nick Harrington-Smith placed Jupiter 4th out of  5, though 1st and 2nd were selected as Champion and Reserve champion, which was some consolation.

As Jupiter was born at the beginning of May, he is a 13-month old Intermediate, when all others in his class at these three shows have been at least 21-months old, so some interesting comparisons regarding size and fleece maturity have to be made by the judges.
Devon County Show
Captain Jack Sparrow took an interest in our boys!
Royal Bath and West Show (South-West Alpaca Group) with the dry and warm May, the herd was starting to look clean after the wet winter, however, some wet days and thunderstorms changed things dramatically, and as we have a herd that is free to graze and use open field shelters as they choose rather than be cooped-up in straw-filled sheds, Jupiter had become clagged in mud from his belly downwards - this was very dis-heartening with the show only days away, even though we all know that 'paddock condition' is the guideline. So we did what we could by putting mats on the earth floor of the shelter, and hosing down his legs during the hot days leading up to the show.

This is a four-day show, and our group arrange demonstrations of the fleece production during the first two days, with shearing, carding, spinning, felting and weaving demonstrations, with commentary by BAS judge, Val Fullerlove. Joy was demonstrating the felting process by making felted scarves. Though there were showers and cloud during these two days, the weather improved so that days three and four when the halter show took place, we had fine weather, with the exception of a downpour during the final class of day three. This had cleared away in time for our Chairman, Mark Steele to fire up his barbeque for the group social, where we had a chance to relax and have a conversation without having to check whether we had to get an animal ready for the show ring - apparently we got through 100 burgers and sausages

On day four, it became very warm, the marquee which served as collecting ring became like a sauna, jackets were discarded, hats and sunglasses came out. Our Judge was Liz Barlow, with Apprentice Julia Corrigan-Stuart.

We had a great moment when Pharo's Babu sired by our stud male Apple Vale Fortune (dam Apple Vale Flamenco) owned by our clients Jeff and Caroline Cox, took second place in a class of nine Junior White Males - I then took Jupiter into the ring, and with high hopes but realistically cautious expectations in a strong class of five, I was delighted that he was placed first! Next I took Apple Vale Fortune into the Adult White Male class, and he was placed second behind the successful Houghton Kaleidoscope, owned by Diane and Jodie Lane.
Apple Vale Jupiter receives Reserve Champion

To the Championship: of the six in the line-up we had Jupiter and Fortune bred on-farm, plus Pharo's Babu from sire and dam bred on our farm! As I was handling Fortune who is a big fella', Joy was handling Jupiter, and had the plesaure of receiving the Reserve Champion sash!
Finally, we entered our best female, Helena's Diana (known simply as 'Apples' to us - sire: Dovecote Jaquinto) into the Dam's Progeny class, as she is dam to both Fortune and Jupiter, and the 'icing on the cake' to the show came when she was awarded first place!.

Now, as I write this around 10 o'clock in the evening, wrapped in two Reserve Championship sashes (well, what else are they for?), I can see the planet Jupiter bright in the southern sky...go on, step outside and take a look.

Back soon, as we have some births due imminently.


  1. Well done team Apple Vale!

  2. Wow, well done Apple Vale...finally got a chance to visit your blog and what a long way you've come since I last visited! You also seem to have more whites in your line up...I don't remember many whites before!
    Onwards and upwards?!!