Alpacas say “Cheese!”


There are many things to do and see at the stock show, but, first and foremost is the livestock.

There are many things to do and see at the stock show, but, first and foremost is the livestock. One of the less understood animals is the alpaca. There are two main kinds of alpacas. There is the Huacaya alpaca, with its fluffy, teddy bear-like fleece, and the Suri, with the long “pencil locks”.


Along with a Huacaya alpaca to demonstrate, Sandra Johnson, owner of Chimera Ranch, took some time to talk about the alpacas. The alpacas at the National Western Stock Show are here for a limited time to show and to be introduced into the population.


You may think that the funny looking “fur” on them is wool, but it is not. The alpaca you are seeing is covered in fleece which is sheared annually to be processed into garments and yarn. An efficient benefit from alpaca fleece is that it is hypoallergenic. “Their fleece has no lanolin” Sandra stated. That means that if you may be allergic to the lanolin in wool, you can happily wear garments made out of alpaca fleece. Sandra said, “I like their fleece".


Teeth may need filing, once in a while, just to keep the alpacas’ mouths comfortable. Alpacas only have bottom teeth and a top gum with a small bony part on top to help grab grasses to eat.


Showings, at the stock show, can take a while, but the preparations are short. Judges like to see the alpacas in “field condition”, according to Sandra. Alpacas are assessed by two judges, and split into groups depending on gender, age, and color. Harnesses are used to walk the alpacas in the show. “The harnesses are here just for the show” said Sandra.



Though alpacas are only a small part of the stock show’s livestock, they are being introduced, and may soon become a big exhibit in the National Western Stock Show.


To learn more about the National Western Stock Show and their livestock, go to the National Western website.