Monday, May 2, 2011

A Champion Grows at Alma Park

Thor - Fleece at 5 months
Ever since we first looked at alpacas, I was drawn to the white ones. Sure, I love the colors and my patterned line of alpacas, and the beautiful yarn and roving I make from them, but I always envisioned my perfect alpaca in white!! Well, over the last few years I have produced some pretty wonderful white animals. Alma Park Mr. Frost (the subject of my latest child's storybook) is an incredible male, but we never showed him as it took 2 1/2 years to figure out who the sire was, so I was never validated. Also, since the male who turned out to be the father is not the male I chose to breed, I do not this I "grew" him. Frost is a very special male who will always have a home here at Alma Park and I do expect great things from his progeny. I will be showing his fleece at PAOBA this weekend. Another amazing male we have is Ant'ny, who took 4 out of 15 at PAOBA in 2010, however, he had a compression fracture of his leg recently and had to sit out the 2011 show season due to surgery! Ugh - I will also be showing his fleece this weekend. Again, I bought his mom pregnant, so he again was not "grown" at Alma Park. And then there was Thor. . . my choice, my female (Juliette) and my little champ!! I did not expect Thor to be a white, as his mother is a rose grey, I was hoping for grey, but I am truly happy that Thor is what he is. His mother, FMF Juliette, is a spectacular full Chilean with a remarkable handle to her fleece. His dad is a mostly Peruvian White who normally throws color and is partially Aliznza, dense with high frequency crimp and good fineness.  I was impressed with Thor from birth, he was strong, upright and very masculine and had fiber to his toes! His fiber was bright and crimpy and I had high hopes!

We have been breeding since 2002, and had no mentor, and the internet did not have the info on it that it does today. So, I started my breeding program basically by trial and error, and breeding "pretty" animals to each other. Then I got a little more savvy and since I have an engineering background decided that there had to be some science behind it. I started keeping my own set of EPDs (although that is not what I called them because I never heard that phrase until 4 years ago) on fleece characteristics (subjective), histograms (objective), conformation (somewhat subjective), and lineage including country of origin. I have done very few outside breedings over the years because I prefer to own the genes.

I always said, jokingly of course, that "I want a WHITE COLOR CHAMPION" Banner and then I can retire!! Well, this weekend we got the banner - but of course I am NOT retiring!! Now that I have one in the white category, I want MORE.

Alma Park Thor took the blue in a yearling class of 7 and then went on to get the champion banner at the New Jersey Alpaca Show and Sale, May 1st, 2011. Unlike my shock of winning Sebastian's Champion banner in 2008, I was a little more prepared and a little more confident in this one because Thor's blue ribbon was won in a larger class and Tim Lavan (who also gave Sebastian the banner), looked at 12 different spots in his fleece on his inspection. In my mind, I knew that must be good and that he was seeing just really how consistent this little guy was!!
Alma Park Thor at 2 weeks old

That is my second banner under Tim Lavan, and he definitely has a tell (I would love to play poker with him). When he has the banner in his hand, he looks at each animal in the line up EXCEPT the one he is going to win. He did that with Sebastian and he did that with Thor. So him stepping toward me with the purple banner, while exciting, was no shock.

Tim Lavan's comments included: solid conformation, very upright, proud stance, high frequency crimp and very consistent through the entire blanket, fine, dense and amazing brightness to his fleece. My friends told me that the crowd "wowed " when Tim opened the blanket and the comments included : "how bright" and "how white" his fleece was.

It was a good day indeed!!

1 comment: