Wings and a Prayer ~ Read Our Opinion

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We continue to be frustrated, as the years go by, that our shows have come to be little more than a grooming competition. For those of us who have strived to follow the rules, i.e. not groom our animals, present them is pasture condition, and basically "run what we brung", each year gets more frustrating. Competing against those who believe they need to wash, primp, strip, twist, separate, enhance, etc. to present their alpacas as "perfect" has become nearly impossible for those of us who refuse to play that game.

Although the judges have continued to make rules against all of these enhancements to the suri alpacas, specifically, they have not found a hard, fast way to determine who is doing what. And, what is the punishment for someone who breaks the rules, in simple English? While it isn't clear how to totally determine what is being done and when, it should be fairly clear to these certified judges when someone has done something to enhance their suri alpaca's fleece. It's clear to those of us who don't do it but then, we're not judges. It seems that the judges are afraid to make a decision and be able to hand down a punishment. What are they afraid of - that everyone will stop showing if they are punished for breaking the rules?? Well, looking over from the other side, perhaps if those of us who refuse to play the dog and pony grooming game stop paying $$ to compete against these perfect alpacas, someone will see the light. In the grand scheme of breeding alpacas, if someone is grooming their animal, stripping and twisting locks, enhancing the luster, that animal will go on to win plenty of show ribbons and accolades. But, it is sure to come out in the long run when someone who purchases a breeding to that exquisite male will expect their cria to come out of the womb............stripped and twisted and dripping with luster because that's what they bought into, right??

Giving these breeders show winning ribbons and awards only enforces what they are doing and accepts what they are doing. It does nothing for the breeders who continue to follow the rules, competing against the tide with these enhanced animals, and getting more frustrated as the years go on. It's time we stood up to these breeders AND the judges and make them accountable to the industry, as a whole, to follow the rules AND enforce them, whatever way they determine it must be done. But, let's make it something that a breeder will remember, not just a whispered few words in the show ring and moving them down a place in the standings.

Randy & Barbara Coleman