By Lauren Eissler
For Greene County News
XENIA — Taking their llamas and alpacas through the events in the camelid show was no spitting matter for the contestants.
Participants had to parade their camelids around the arena for the judge, guide them through an obstacle course, and coax them through a distraction-filled course in the public relations round.
Though these events may sound simple, camelids can be stubborn creatures, and completing the various parts of the events wasn’t without some difficulty.
In the junior showmanship round, the judge declared that all four competitors would receive first place because they all did about the same and made some mistakes.
“It’s a learning process,” he said, “so this is what we’re gonna do.”
The stubbornness didn’t start appearing until the camelids were faced with the two obstacle courses – one “normal” and one focusing on public relations.
In the former, the contestants needed to guide their llamas and alpacas through a series of challenges – weave around poles, back out of a corner, jump a short hurdle, walk across a tarp, and walk across a teeter-totter.
While most of the camelids were content to weave through the poles and jumped the hurdle (sometimes on a second try) with relative ease, some took great issue with the tarp and teeter-totter. Contestants pulled and coaxed their camelids through these portions.
And for both obstacle courses, the challenges were very similar for the junior and senior competitors. The main differences were in the public relations course, which is designed to show how well the animals are trained and how much they trust their handlers.
In that course, the camelids were faced with an umbrella. The junior competitors needed only to show their llama (or alpaca) a closed and floppy umbrella, while the senior competitors needed to open the umbrella and hold it over their camelid’s head.
In the senior rounds, there were only two competitor-llama pairs. Sydney Stumbo and her llama won the showmanship round and the Annie Stewart Memorial Outstanding Camelid Exhibitor Award. Camryn Joseph and her llama Calvin won both obstacle courses and took home the Champion Exhibitor award, which was based on her overall score.
Joseph, from Fairborn, has been showing Calvin for three years now and has been a part of 4-H for five years.
A lot of training and hard work went into preparing for the show, and she said it’s always fun when it comes to show day.
And she said Calvin did well, as was evidenced by their successes.
“At first he was a bit stubborn, so I was getting upset about it,” Joseph said. “I think he was doing really well for everything.”
Lauren Eissler is a freelance writer for Greene County News.