There are approximately 53,000 alpacas in the United States. Many of those alpacas and alpaca farmers made their way to Des Moines this past weekend for the annual American Alpaca Showcase. The show was held October 24-26 at the Iowa State Fair grounds. The event drew in people from across the county. This is the first year the show was held in Des Moines.
Both types of Alpacas, Huacaya and Suri, were present at the showcase. The judges used 60/40 judging criteria to rate both types of alpacas. Forty percent of the judging was based on how the alpaca walk, it’s body structure, and how it was presented. The other 60 percent was based solely on its fibers. Alpaca’s fiber can be used to make a variety of different products including rugs, hats, teddy bears, and yarn.
Christian Davies is an alpaca farmer from Maxwell, Iowa that knows the importance of the animal’s fiber. Davies and his wife, Michelle, run their own full service fiber mill on their farm, C&M Acres. They sheered 104 alpacas this past spring.
“They [alpacas] are different. I’m a traditional Iowa farm boy. I grew up with all types of farm animals, dairy, beef, hogs, chickens and these guys are different,” said Davies. They are ‘different’ because every alpaca has its own unique personality.”
Owning up to their cat like attributes, alpacas were described as extremely friendly, gentle, curious, and even goofy animals, by the farmers at the showcase.
Due to their gentle and friendly nature, alpacas are great with children, making alpaca farming truly a family affair.
The events organizers and sponsors are looking forward to bring theAmerican Alpaca Showcase back to Des Moines next year.