By David Hazledine
MILFORD — Milford Animal Clinic was the site of the 2020 Kosciusko County 4-H Fair alpaca show on Sunday, July 12. The outdoor location allowed participants from KCounty Alpaca Pride-Kosciusko County 4-H Alpaca Project to opt out of county fair arena rules regarding face masks when showing their animals.
Cadence Gibson of Warsaw took home the grand champion ribbon for showmanship, with second place going to Regann Finch, Warsaw, and third place to Abby Smith, Milford. Gibson has been working with alpacas for seven years.
According to Dana Finch, club superintendent, alpacas were first shown with llamas in 2015. KCounty Alpaca Pride was started in 2016 by Finch, Lex Wise and Mishler Alpaca Farms. In 2019 Kent Mishler donated 13 Huayaca alpacas to the club, with Milford Animal Clinic owners Tom and Janelle Smith providing housing and caretaking of the animals throughout the year.
Alpacas differ from llamas in a number of ways, a primary difference being their thick, soft hair. They are also generally smaller and easier to manage. The spitting alpacas are sometimes known as being mostly reserved from other alpacas in the herd during feeding time, said Gibson.
COVID-19 restrictions kept 4-Hers away from their animals for much of the spring, which they tried to make up for later, training with their animals as often as three times per week in the month before the fair.
While participants were not required to wear masks, some did and everyone practiced social distancing.
Nevertheless, Judge Kate McConkey praised participants’ handling and training of their animals, particularly the intermediate and advanced groups.
Further results are as follows:
Showmanship — Beginners: First place, Abby Smith; second, Levi Smith; third, Brooklyn Raney. Intermediate: First, Regann Finch; second, Alexis Wilson; third, Zoe Mort. Advanced: First, Cadence Gibson; second, Elena Ramirez; third, Raygan Wright.
Obstacle Course — Beginners: First place, Adam Delafuente; second Levi Smith; third, Abby Smith. Intermediate: First, Abby Shelhart; second, Regann Finch; third, Zoe Mort. Advanced: First, Kendall Gibson; second, Elena Ramirez; third, Cadence Gibson.
Costume — Beginners: First place, Abby Smith; second, Adam Delafuente; third, Brooklyn Raney. Intermediate: First, Ragann Finch: second, Alexis Wilson; third, Zoe Mort. Advanced: FIrst, Kendall Gibson; second, Elena Ramirez; third, Sierra Delafuente.
For more information, visit KCounty Alpaca Pride-Kosciusko County 4-H Alpaca Project on Facebook.