A new age in ranching in the Texas Panhandle dawns this year with the Second Annual High Plains Alpaca Show, at Amarilloâ€™s Tri-State Fairgrounds, Dec. 10-11. More than 250 animals are registered for this show, some from as far away as Washington and Nebraska, making it one of the largest alpaca shows in the nation.
What is an alpaca? It is a domesticated animal from the Andes Mountains in South America. But donâ€™t confuse it with a llama. While similar, an alpaca is smaller and is bred for its fiber. Alpaca fiber products, especially the clothing, are highly prized for warmth and color and are not itchy when worn next to the skin. It is also hypo-allergenic and fire retardant.
Why do we need an alpaca show? Because alpaca ranching is quickly catching on as a viable livestock business in the Texas Panhandle and across the U.S. Many local alpaca ranchers are in the breeding business. Top quality breeding stock for the projected growth of the alpaca ranching industry is in demand, and alpaca shows are one way for ranchers to have the quality of their animals assessed for future marketing.
There are lots of show highlights for the general public. A spinner will be on premises to show the curious how alpaca fiber is made ready for clothing and other products. And vendors at the show will make sure everyone has a chance to buy unique alpaca garments just in time for the holidays.
Perhaps the best reason for an alpaca show is they are so cute and are great with kids.
Speaking of kids, the show will feature an Alpaca Youth Training Day and Judging Competition on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm for youth ages 8 to 18. It is designed to prepare youth to raise, show and judge alpacas. Cost for this competition is $20.00 per entry and no experience handling these friendly animals is required.
To participate, pre-register on the show website, www.hiplainsalpacashow.info or come to the Bill Cody Arena at the Tri-State Fairgrounds at 8:00 am December 10, to sign up. Parental permission is required for all participants. Winners of the Youth Training & Judging Competition will be announced at 5:00 pm December 11, 2011 with first place receiving a custom designed belt buckle designed by Montana Silversmiths and 2nd thru 6th place ribbons awarded.
The show runs all day December 10 & 11. Admission is free. For more information on the High Plains Alpaca show, go to www.hiplainsalpacashow.info
The estimated economic impact of this show is $121,500.
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