Last year - I formally objected to MAPACA Jubilee being a 3 day show prior to the show happening (Sent a letter to the BOD and to everyone in the region that I had in my database. I also posted on Facebook and AlpacaNation) . There was a lot of support (sent to me privately and to the BOD) . . . and supposedly it was to be re-addressed for 2011, because they supposedly were too far into the planning to change now. I was already registered and god for bid I could get my money back, so I went to the show and it dragged on ridiculously !! To try to get numbers up to show that it is a "large, well attended show", they cut stall fees and class fees in half or giving them away - simply to make it look like it was still the 'Go To Show'. Supposedly 1000 alpacas were in attendance.
I also expressed my opinions after the show was over, about the show dragging, coffee being charged for at the Norm Evans' dinner and the fact that the judge for the huacaya males was inconsistent and simple not a "level 5 judge" and many people flamed me. Even the quality of the judges that the Jubilee used to attract at have degraded. It used to attract top training judges such as Jude Anderson and Mike Safley. Well here we are again - and it appears it will again be a 3 day show ! And stall prices are going to be $280 (for 3 juvis or 2 yearling/adults) - are you kidding me????? In a letter to renew membership today - you can save 30% on stalls - which is still $196 a STALL!! If the venue was moved or less expensive or sod was not provided - there can be a significant savings - but it seems that the elitist movement is alive and well for this show.
Here is what I posted to the AN boards in April (after the show) as the show's highlights (negative highlights that is):
1 - A judge change at the last minute for black juvi females which one of my clients had in the show --- I think this is actual an AOBA violation and will be asking AOBA Show division later today.
2 - Only 2 rings were utilized on Friday. Then Sat and Sun they used that ring ONLY for the performance classes - so 1000 Suri and Huacays had to be in 2 rings!!! There were enough Suris there to have a ring all by themselves!
3 - They seemed to purposely drag out the show to prove it needed to be 3 days because of my and many other folks complaining about the 3 day format. People were there from Maine, Virginia and Ohio and the the huacayas didn't finish until 5 pm on Sunday - I am sure that people I know with Grey Huacaya females in Ohio didn't get home until after midnight. After the poor animals were stalled in tiny pens for 4 days. How about we start thinking about our animals HEALTH and stress???
4 - Seminars in which I was a speaker was again a football field away even tho we were told it was all under one roof
5 - Dinner with Norm Evans (tickets were $20 per person) and they charged an extra $2 for a freaking cup of coffee - are you kidding me? Coffee should come with a buffet - are they THAT desperate for money? When the question was posed to the board the response was "I don't know"
6 - Spin Off - they decided to only give ribbons for 1-3 place - who made that decision?? There are always 1 - 6 ribbons in spin off unless otherwise stated up front
7 - Color check in – the people who were doing check in were checking at the tip of the fleece or in the middle rather than at the skin - so that I had to argue on almost every animal except my whites. How about you train the volunteers or have someone there who actually knows how to do it?
8 - Exhibitors meeting was at 8:30 am and my first seminar was at 9 am (mind you a football field away) – the projector wasn’t in the room and the length that people had to walk made for low attendance – however the second time I did the seminar – I had approx 25 people – which makes me think – if your show opens at 9 – then let people get settled and start the first seminars at 10.
9 - Isn't it customary to have 2 judges judge the production classes? Well they were SO behind schedule that they only had one and kept the performance ring open - so that had to wait for people in the get because they were also in the performance ring.
10 - How come we don't have top judges at MAPACA this year. I don't consider the male huacaya judge a top judge and at a level 5 show - there should be a bigger name!
11 - let's not even talk about how expensive a show it is !!
MAPACA thinks they are an "Elite" show because of their "events" like wine and cheese and other stuff like that. How about they try to make the event more efficient, less stressful for the animals and humans !!
It was absolutely the worst show I have ever attended! It was drawn out, long, disorganized and no one seemed to know what was going on when asked at the super's stand and things just kept changing. . . ridiculous.
With so many competing shows out there - there are cheaper and better run alternatives.
I won't be attending the Jubilee this year - nor will I be renewing my membership to MAPACA
Here was my open letter to the BOD last year and I think that it applies. This was sent for the 2010 Jubilee on March 18, 2010)
To the MAPACA BOD,
The MAPACA Jubilee is a must do in the Northeast region of the alpaca world. In 2008, we saw record breaking numbers of 1700 animals registered under Wayne Robinson's leadership. However due to economic changes, competing events and industry focus, registration last year was much, much less. The show dragged on and was not a happy place to be. I personally stood at the gate after last call for 15 - 20 minutes waiting to show which makes a bad experience for the alpacas and exhibitors. Sunday could not come quick enough for me to pack up and go home. The building was a ghost town by 11AM Sunday morning.
I believe there are several compelling reasons to make this a 2 day show:
1 -- When the MAPACA Jubilee had an auction component the 3 day show was necessary - since there is no longer an auction component - that 3rd day just extends the time between classes and everyone's frustration at these low registration numbers
2 -- People with children find it difficult to make their child take an extra day off from school
3 -- People who work find it difficult and may even have economic challenges to take an extra day off from work
4 -- The show is already one of the most expensive in the country and the extra night in a hotel room has economic challenges for many
5 -- If a level 3 show can manage 300 animals in 1 ring over 2 days, a show with approx 800-900 animals can manage 2 days with 4 rings
6 -- Many breeders I have spoken to specifically stated they will not be showing at MAPACA this year because it is a 3 day show
7 -- Many breeders I have spoken to have decided not to show because of the expense
8 -- Many breeders I have spoken to have decided not to show because it dragged on forever last year
9 -- Many small farm simply cannot do a show of this cost over 3 days
The alpaca industry is not just retired / rich folks anymore. We come from all walks of life and many need to watch expenses and need to work in order to be in the industry they love especially in this economic environment.
We also need to make sure we are not alienating the small farms out there. Small farms are the future of our industry and are also the customers for the large and medium farms.
I implore you to make the decision to make this a 2 day show this year and in next year's planning start with a clean slate, don't look back to the MAPACA of the past - it will not be that again. Look to the MAPACA of the future and make it the GO TO show again. Because right now - it is an afterthought for many people. I personally no longer look forward to showing there - I just feel as a large breeder I must, but it is my least favorite and least fun show I do all year.
To the Alpaca Breeders out there, if you agree with making MAPACA Jubilee a 2 day show this year - please voice your opinion to the BOD as well. You can email them all at email@example.com or go to the mapaca.org website for contact info.