By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
During the second year of alpacas showing in Boone County (and the State of Illinois), Emily Johnson handling Jelly the alpaca won the Grand Prize.


Boone County Fair’s history-making alpaca show last year returned this year to a full house of spectators. The first county fair in the State of Illinois to hold an alpaca show drew old hands with alpacas and new owners as well.

This year the alpacas had minds of their own. One stopped in the middle of the obstacle course to pose for a photo op, none of the alpaca wanted to climb the “hill,” and not one of them was willing to walk through the water obstacle. (“You want me to get my hoofs wet? I don’t think so!”)

The costume contest was hilarious and the standing-room only crowds fully enjoyed the show. The winning alpaca, Jelly of Alpaca Pines in Poplar Grove, is a veteran from last year’s show. The second and third place alpacas were new to the show and new to their owners. Those two girls had only owned their alpacas for one month and did extremely well in the show for first-timers.

The show’s judge was at the Bone County Fair for its first alpaca show last year and returned for the 2018 show.

“I’m really thrilled to be back. I’ve been in llamas and alpacas for 25 years. I judge for ALSA, the Alpaca Llama Show Association, and ILR, the International Llama Registry,” said Deb Yeagle, of Lindsey, Ohio. “I got into it when I had Shetland sheep. They are so expensive that I got a llama to guard them. Within six months, we got six more.

“I breed Argentine llamas and started alpaca 13 years ago. The first alpaca came to the US in 1980 and only a few people had them. It cost $5000 for two geldings. Now there are more alpaca in the country and prices have leveled out.

It has really impacted the fiber community.

“I’ve been spinning fiber since 1979. With llama fiber and the two luxurious alpaca fibers – long, silky Suri fibers and full, puffy Huacaya fiber – more readily available, it has really impacted the fiber community. When you blend the different fibers, it’s a whole new fiber world.

“The alpaca industry began here as ‘exotic’ livestock. Now it is domestic. To get anywhere in the US, we needed them to be domestic. They are great for 4-H kids. The kids can have them around all their lives so they can keep training the alpaca and do things with them. They are the easiest animals to take care of that I have ever had. They are easy on fences and pastures. They are very good pets as well as…

For complete article, pick up the Aug. 19 BDR.

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