Dancing Moon Alpacas ~ Read Our Opinion

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The first time I saw suris at a show in Del Mar CA in 2003 I knew that they
had won my heart. Little did I know the extent of the ongoing commitment
this journey would demand in presenting animals honestly and proudly.

What I have learned in the last 7 years is that it's darn hard to have a
level playing field showing suris. First we have animals who come from
hard, dusty environments competing against those who live on green pasture.
Then we have suris who's owners have decided that suris should "look their
best" in the ring and have little compunction in admitting that they've
washed, de-cotted (or stripped) and/or conditioned their suris or given
them a little "vacation" on nice clean concrete inside a barn for 30 days
or so prior to the shows.

So, what do we have here? A show system that inherently is biased towards
those animals living in temperate climes and without any scientific
controls against "prepping" animals before they enter the ring.

I'm one of those breeders that have my suris living on dry lot, with Santa
Ana winds that drill dust and dirt into fleeces sometimes down to the skin.
What do I do when I go to a show and am up against suris from Oregon who
come off trailers freshly cleaned by nature's ph balanced rains?

What do we both do when we go to shows and fellow suri breeders have
decided that it "just doesn't seem right to bring those suris in the ring
all dirty and cotted and unable to show their very best"? What we have
currently is an uncontrolled show environment based soley on the "honor
system".

Even the judges are taught to trust their first impressions and we all know
that that shiny, silky, "locked to the skin" suri trotting into the ring
will take the judges eye 100% of the time over the dusty suri who's fleece
once sheared and processed could very easily outshine that "show
stopper's".

I don't know what the solution is. To me this is a fleece industry.
Perhaps the show ring is not the correct venue for those who truly are
dedicated to this end product. Maybe the show ring should be viewed more
like a dog show. Perhaps we should have 2 separate show systems; one for
those who want their fleeces judged as it is and those who want that "wow"
factor. There's nothing more stunning than a clean, drapey suri walking
into the ring!

Has anyone seen the show "Little Miss Perfect"? It's about child beauty
contests. There's this portion called "WOW Wear!" where the kids dress up
in the most eye catching outfits and create their little "shows" with song
and dance to "wow" the judges. Maybe that's what the suri shows should be.
Make those suris shine!

Ah but that's not what the show ring is supposed to do currently. . . at
least not until we have created a controlled system of fiber analysis and
conformational evaluation outside of the "show circuit venue" as an
alternate option.

So, I'm asking, for the sake of the future of a viable suri fiber industry
for everyone to abide by the current AOBA rules, respect our fellow suri
breeders who already are doing so and have a healthy, honest 2010 suri show
season.

My best to all,

Ann Hayes
Dancing Moon Alpacas
Breeding Fine Suris in Southern CA