Alpaca Judge Biographies

This list of judges is meant for reference only. We will make every attempt to keep this list up-to-date. Judges can be active or inactive during any given year and these listings can be used as a reference to view judges that may be working a show you are attending.

Amanda VandenBosch

Alpaca Judge Amanda VandenBosch

Amanda VandenBosch is a Senior AOBA Halter and Fleece Judge and an Alpaca Judge Trainer and Instructor in the United States.  Amanda qualified as an International Alpaca Judge trained in Peru at the International Alpaca Judging School (IAJS ) in 2000. She has judged shows in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Switzerland, gaining an international perspective and true love for the art and science of alpaca judging.

Amanda travels worldwide judging alpacas, instructing, presenting seminars and workshops to breeders and judges. Her “hands on” approach is greatly sought after. Amanda worked with the British Alpaca Society (BAS) for 7 years developing the judge Training Program, and with the New Zealand Judges. She has been honored with regular appointments as an AOBA Senior Instructor and Judge Trainer in both Fleece and Halter in the USA.

Amanda has spent many hours volunteering over the years at AOBA National Conferences, and regional events, she has participated on numerous committees. She is past president of CALPACA a Regional Affiliate and is co –chair of the Judges Advisory Committee (JAC) . Amanda has had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading experts in the study of alpacas.

Amanda is a native of the United Kingdom. She travelled and worked for The National Stud (UK) Lindsay Park Stud (Australia) and Lanes End Farm (Kentucky, USA) the premier thoroughbred breeding operations worldwide. In 1991 she settled in the USA. For the last 20 years, Amanda has been involved with alpacas in all aspects. Amanda is also a co-author of the book “The Art & Science of Alpaca Judging”  With her husband, Vince and two sons, Cody and Hunter, they operate Flying Dutchman Alpacas, in Bend OR, successfully raising both huacayas and suris.

Arturo Peña

Arturo Pena is from Arequipa, Peru. He has an educational background in animal science and management. In 2003, he moved to the United States, since then he has been working as a herd manager for large alpaca farms operation. His fascination for alpacas and its luxury product "The Fleece" motivated him to get into the AOBA Judging Apprentice Program. He completed his training and become an AOBA Certified Halter, Performance and Fleece Judge for both Huacayas and Suris. Arturo, his wife Kat and son Nicholas recently moved to the East Coast area.

Arturo believes that education and mentoring are the keys to promote and develop a strong Alpaca industry.

Babs Manion

Alpaca Judge Babs Manion

Babs Manion together with her husband, Rick, raise huacaya and suri alpacas on their ranch located just north of Eugene, Oregon. Babs has studied and learned about alpacas from industry leaders along with over 16 years of personal experience in daily alpaca ranching. She is a certified AOBA judge in fleece, performance, suri and huacaya halter. In October 2004 Babs graduated from the International Alpaca Judging School (IAJS) in Peru.

Beth Lutz

Beth Lutz turned her love of fiber and knitting into a full-time occupation. She was the co-owner of Uncommon Threads, a full service yarn store in York, PA for 11 years. Beth and her husband, Neal, started raising alpacas mainly for their fiber in 2001 and began breeding in 2002. They now have about 40 animals at their farm, Painted Spring Farm Alpacas in Spring Grove, PA. Beth remains focused on the fiber and all that can be done with it. She has been an avid knitter and crocheter since her pre-teen years, and has been weaving and spinning since before purchasing her alpacas.

In 2004, Beth purchased the yarn division of the AFCNA, and is now running that business as The Alpaca Yarn Company. The Alpaca Yarn Company is a wholesale distributor of 100% alpaca and alpaca blended yarns to retail yarn stores and farm stores across the US, in Canada and Germany.

Cathy Merkley

Cathy Merkley is a full partner in T’n’C Farms and The AlpacaLoft Fibre Studio with Trudy McCall. They live on adjoining properties totalling 18 acres near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.  They purchased three huacaya alpacas in 1996 and their herd now numbers over 50 huacayas and 7 suris.  They operate an alpaca store and spin, dye, crochet, knit, and felt with alpaca and other natural fibres.

Cathy is an alpaca halter and fleece judge and has judged across Canada as well as in the United States and Germany.  She took some of her judge’s training in Peru and has been back to help with fleece judge training.  She certified as a fleece classer in 2004 and estimates that she has classed over 14,000 pounds of alpaca fibre since then.  She teaches a variety of breeder and fibre specific workshops and seminars.

Cathy is a firm believer in the potential of the alpaca breeding and fibre industry and is committed to its growth and success.

Cathy Moore

My husband Sam and I acquired our first alpacas in 1999, shortly after moving back to his home in rural SE Ohio with our 2 sons. In addition to running a 200 acre farm, we own a small Real Estate company that specializes in farms and acreage. When we became interested in alpacas, I really liked the idea of spinning. I purchased a spinning wheel in 2000 and with the help of some local spinners began spinning. Then came knitting and weaving. I have enjoyed taking fleeces from my alpacas from raw to finished products, as well as spinning custom blends that I card on my drum carder. I use a lot of the yarns myself, but always have a supply available to sell at festivals and online. I have judged several Spin-Off competitions, including AOBA Nationals and OABA’s Alpacafest. I love having the opportunity to see and feel and spin such a variety of fleeces!

Cheryl Gehly

Alpaca Judge Cheryl Gehly

Cheryl Gehly came to the alpaca world with a background of 25 years in education. Her subsequent immersion and fascination with alpaca fleece arose from an innocent decision to volunteer with shearing back in 1998. Once hooked, she pursued a desire to learn more and ultimately became an AOBA Certified Fleece Judge in 2002. In addition to judging fleece shows, Cheryl has shared her knowledge with judges and apprentices as an AOBA Certified Instructor at JTCC sponsored Judge Training Clinics, as well as being an AOBA Certified Fleece Judge Trainer. She has volunteered as a fleece show superintendent on several occasions and became a familiar face to many as she helped at numerous annual AOBA National Conference Fleece Shows.

Cheryl has subsequently been hired as the Fleece Show Superintendent for several fleece shows. Cheryl has also volunteered her time with AOBA by being a member and chairperson of the Judge Training and Certification Committee. Cheryl was subsequently appointed as a member and chairperson of the AOBA Judge Advisory Committee. She is also the fleece judge liaison to the Show Rules Committee and the Judge Training and Certification Committee. Cheryl teaches at breeder seminars around the country as well as judging multiple AOBA Certified Fleece Shows annually.

David Barboza

Alpaca Judge David Barboza

David Barboza volunteering as a ring steward recognized the process and challenges that livestock judging presented and decided to attend the International Alpaca Judging School in 2001. After returning from Peru he began the AOBA judges training program and completed his certification in both IAJS and AOBA as a halter, fleece and performance judge. He judged his first show in 2006 and has judged over 20 shows both in the US and Canada.

David now works full-time in the Alpaca Industry dividing his time between his ranch, volunteering on the AOBA board and teaching seminars. In 2006 together with his wife Brenda they started ACE, Alpaca Continuing Education, which provides cutting edge training and education for the Alpaca breeder. Today David and Brenda run their ranch, RanchoNC Alpacas, in the foothills of Northern California and devote their full-time attention to the Alpaca Industry.

Diana Timmerman

Alpaca Judge Diana Timmerman

Diana was born in Germany and moved to Colorado when she was eight years of age and has remained in Colorado.  After training and working as a Paralegal in both Corporate and Criminal law Diana and her husband, Tim, started Aussie Acres Alpacas in 1994. Alpacas became Diana’s full-time business and she has never looked back at the corporate world. At the present time Diana and her husband Tim, maintain a small herd of Huacaya alpacas, specializing in exceptional genetics and seedstock.

In 2001, Diana received her certification as an AOBA Certified Halter, Performance and Fleece Judge for Huacayas and Suris. In 2004, she traveled to Peru to further her education by training with the International Alpaca Judging School and received her IAJS Judging Certification. Diana has over 14 years of experience breeding and showing alpacas, along with over 25 years of experience raising other breeds of livestock. Her love for alpacas and her commitment to fleece education was the inspiration that led to the purchase of The Alpaca Breeders Fiber School, LLC (ABFS). Diana does find time to spend with her husband Tim, her son Jeff and his finance Jenessa. Diana served on the Advisory Board for the Mid-America Alpaca Foundation, on The Board of Directors of The Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies, is a faculty member and owner of the Alpaca Breeders Fiber School, LLC and past leader of the Leading Llamas and Alpacas 4-H Club. She is a member of AOBA, ABR, IAJS Advisory Council and the Suri Network.

Donna Rudd

Alpaca Judge Donna Rudd

Donna Rudd has been a Spin Off judge for Suri Network for the past four years as well as for other U.S. and Canadian alpaca organizations.  She is completing her Master Spinners Certificate Program from Olds College in 2012 and is also a Certified Camelid Fiber Sorter/Grader, Certified Wool and Mohair judge and Alberta Approved Fine Arts Judge with extensive experience in all fields.

Rudd has had extensive experience in the livestock industry since a early age in 4-H showing and judging until recent years when she sold her purebred cattle herd and more recently her Suri alpaca and llama fiber herd and retired to a small town in Central Alberta.  She worked for the Suri Llama Association as a Suri llama Inspector (classifier) before volunteering on the Suri Network Product Development Committee where she authored the 'Understanding Suri Fiber Seminar' and 'Suri Fiber Harvesting Code of Practice for Suri Network.  She continues to teach Suri spinning, weaving, felting, and sorting classes internationally to the alpaca and fiber arts community.

Glen Finbow

Alpaca Judge Glen Finbow

Glen Finbow and his wife, Lynda, along with 90 alpacas, reside in the historic village of Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada. Having owned these amazing animals since 2004, Glen has attended numerous clinics, courses, seminars and worked as a ring steward over the past several years, becoming well-read and achieving years of hands-on experience. Since 1983, he has owned a construction and paving contracting business in St. Catharines, Ontario – Economy Paving Company (St. Catharines) Limited. Glen has recently completed writing a new alpaca book entitled The Alpaca Breeders Terminology Sourcebook, published May 2012, and is looking forward to writing an updated version after completing his judge’s training in 2015.

Glen has been active in many alpaca organizations, including: Alpaca Ontario, Alpaca Canada, Canadian Llama & Alpaca Registry, Eastern C.N.A.S.F., Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association and the Quechua Benefit (Canada). He has acted as a consultant at various alpaca auctions across the United States over the past two years. Glen graduated from the A.O.B.A. Apprenticeship Program in fleece in October, 2013 and plans on completing his apprenticeship in halter and performance, testing in December of 2014.

Helen Humphreys

Alpaca Judge Helen Humphreys

Helen Humphreys along with her husband Jim has been breeding and raising alpacas since 2001 and Helen has been very active within the alpaca community.  She served as the President of the Pennsylvania Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, managed the PAOBA Breeders Showcase, served on the Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Association Board of Directors, and served on several Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association committees.  Helen was also a founding partner in Silver Penn Sales, an auction management company.

Helen has been a certified Halter and Fleece Judge since 2007 and enjoys traveling throughout the country evaluating alpacas, offering educational seminars, herd evaluations and sale consultations.

Helen, Jim and their two children, Mia and Raymond, reside in Gibsonia Pennsylvania and manage a small herd of huacaya alpacas at Silvercloud Farm.

Ian Watt


Ian is a US citizen from Australia with over 22 years of alpaca experience as a breeder, consultant, speaker/lecturer, author and elected officer of the Australian Alpaca Association, AOBA and the AOBA affiliate, SoCalpaca.

He operates the only privately owned OFDA 2000 fiber testing machine dedicated to testing alpaca fiber anywhere in the world and introduced skin biopsy testing to the US industry.

He was a certified wool classer in Australia when he was 16 and has spent many years in the Australian livestock industry including a period as the manager of a stud merino ram station in the north of South Australia as well as spending 6 years as a livestock consultant in Papua New Guinea and consulting work with the Freedom From Hunger Campaign (United Nations) and World Bank.

He is objective in his dealings with breeders and industry stakeholders and shares his perspective and experience freely and with enthusiasm!

Jill MacLeod

Alpaca Judge Jill MacLeod

Jill MacLeod lives in High River, Alberta, Canada with her husband Art and two daughters, Rachel and Emma. The family has been involved in the Alpaca industry since 1991, when the MacLeods began their breeding operation, Aztec Alpacas. Jill has served as a past director of the Canadian Alpaca Association and also has extensive experience with Alpaca show organization. She spends much of her time traveling as an alpaca halter and fleece judge and holds international training credentials and is also a senior judge for AOBA. Jill has been fortunate to judge across North America as well as Europe, the UK and Australia.

Jill has had a lifelong interest in textiles and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Textiles in 1987 from the University of Alberta. She is interested in development and promotion of alpaca as part of the luxury fibre market and is involved with the Canadian Camelid Fibre Co-op as a certified Camelid fibre classer and director of product development.

The MacLeods have managed a number of federal import and export quarantines from their farm. The challenges of this unique operation have provided them with an interesting perspective on various aspects of herd management under a variety of environmental conditions as well as long distance land and air shipment of stock.

Jude Anderson

Alpaca Judge Jude Anderson

Jude Anderson, along with her husband Alan Cousill, has been breeding alpacas since 1991, at Pucara Alpaca Stud, Australia. They also co-own Purrumbete Alpaca Stud, a separate herd of approximately 120 cross bred and pure suri females. Both herds are managed by their partners in Australia. In the US, they are building a herd of quality suris and huacayas at Pucara International, a beautiful 105 acre farm at McMinnville, Oregon.

In 1994 Jude left school teaching to concentrate fully on the breeding and animal care of alpacas at Pucara Alpaca Stud.

An AAA judge since 1998, Jude gained AOBA certification in 2002 and Senior Judge and judge trainer/instructor status in 2005. She also certified at the IAJS school in Peru in 2000. Since 1998 Jude has judged in Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.

Jude has also conducted seminars and spoken in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, UK and Germany on topics including breeding, reproduction and alpaca husbandry, alpaca fiber, selection, genetics, and nutrition.

Kathy Kenworthy

Alpaca Judge Kathy Kenworthy

Kathy owns and operates Almosta Ranch Alpacas in Mohrsville, PA., and has been a spin off judge for several years. It all started in 2003 when she wanted to learn to spin and increase her knowledge about all kinds of natural fiber. As her knowledge and appreciation of exquisite alpaca fiber increased, so did the focus of her breeding program. She now focuses on quality and quantity of fiber produced as opposed to color. Kathy’s first spin off judging experience was the AOBA National Show—beige and whites. Baptism by fire! Kathy believes spinning for a spin off competition is truly a labor of love. She has been doing shows from different areas and enjoys evaluating and spinning samples from all over the country.

Kathy is a registered nurse by profession and when she is not working out of the house or on the farm, she enjoys spending time with her three young grandchildren, being a member of Treadlers Thru Time (a Sheep to Shawl team that competes at the PA Farm Show every year), knitting, and of course, spinning!

Kevin O' Leary

Alpaca Judge Kevin O' Leary

Kevin and his partner Deborah Shields, along with her folks, established RiverView Alpacas in 1997. RiverView is now home to 50 alpacas.

Committed to the alpaca industry, Kevin has served on various AOBA committees including the Affiliate, the Nominating and the National Conference Planning. He is currently serving on the Judge Advisory Committee.

Kevin is one of the founding members and President of N. E. Alpaca Tours, a non-profit corporation that organizes the North American Alpaca Show. To date, N.E.A.T. has donated over a quarter of a million dollars to alpaca research and education.

Having successfully completed the AOBA Judge Training Program in 2004, Kevin received certification in halter, fleece and performance judging for both Suri and Huacaya alpacas. Kevin is currently judging alpaca shows throughout the country and is involved in speaking, consulting and in the organization of alpaca shows and auctions.

Kristin Buhrman (AOBA Senior Judge)

Alpaca Judge Kristin Buhrman (AOBA Senior Judge)

Kristin has been involved with alpacas since 1984 when her family became the first alpaca ranching operation in Canada. She has been a certified AOBA judge since 2001, a judge trainer for the past four years and a Senior Judge since 2004. Outside of the alpaca industry, her educational background is in biology and psychology. She currently works as a Registered Nurse at a small rural hospital where her practice involves everything from Obstetrics to Palliative care and everything in between. Kristin and her husband Bob Grier live near Pincher Creek, Alberta, Canada on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains about 30 miles north of Glacier National Park, Montana. Together, they have two very active young sons: Eric and Liam.

Laurel Shouvlin

Alpaca Judge Laurel Shouvlin

Laurel Shouvlin and her husband Tim have been raising alpacas since 1997 on Bluebird Hills Farm in Springfield, Ohio. Laurel has been fascinated with the camel family since her childhood and has also enjoyed working with natural fibers, learning to weave, knit and spin while in high school.
All facets of the alpaca industry appeal to her including husbandry, veterinary medicine, the breeding and birthing, and the show ring. She first considered becoming a judge after volunteering as a ring steward at various shows, loving the opportunity to examine the fleeces of so many alpacas, and considers training to judge alpacas a natural extension of her education involving these animals. Laurel believes the show ring is one of the best tools available to breeders to continue to improve both the fiber and conformation of alpacas in North America. The show ring is also a great opportunity to help educate breeders about fleece and conformation.

Laurel has also served as editor and publisher of the Ohio Alpaca Breeders Association magazine, Ohio Alpaca Life, and as a director for the ARI. She feels privileged to have the opportunity to evaluate North American alpacas and their fleeces.

Lyn Dickson

Lyn Dickson has been breeding and showing alpacas for more than 23 years.
Together with her husband, Graeme, Lyn established Warralinga Alpaca Stud, located in the Hawkesbury Valley, northwest of Sydney at the foot of the Blue Mountains in 1992. Lyn was accredited as an Australian Alpaca Association judge in 1995 and qualified as an international judge in Peru 15 years ago. Lyn is also a Wool Classer. Over the years major judging invitations have included: AAA Nationals, AANZ Nationals, British National, Canadian Futurities, International Halter and Fleece Shows in the USA and Germany as well as all of Australia's major shows and Royals. Lyn enjoys being able to help mentor newer and younger judges coming up through the ranks in Australia and New Zealand and has been an instructor for the training and development of judges in both countries.

Michelle Boyd

Alpaca Judge Michelle Boyd

Michelle Boyd is a Master Spinner and Fibre Artist who lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Combining a background in graphic art and anthropology with an extensive Fibre Arts education, Michelle teaches for the Olds College Master Spinner Program in Olds, Alberta, Canada, as well as for local guilds and at Fibre Arts festivals across North America. She is a recent recipient of the Spin-Off Autumn Retreat’s prestigious scholarship, and will be returning to SOAR as a mentor in 2011. A passionate advocate for all Fibre Arts, Michelle has served on the Board of Directors of the Handweavers, Spinners, and Dyers of Alberta and is currently the Fibre Arts Program Coordinator for Fibre Week, hosted by Olds College. Along with her spinning, Michelle knits, weaves, and dyes and her work is exhibited at Frames and More Gallery in Fort McMurray.

Mike Safley

Alpaca Judge Mike Safley

Mr. Safley was born and raised in Oregon. He attended the University of Oregon and served in the U.S. Navy Seabees, doing two tours of duty in Vietnam.

Mike Safley was elected president of the fledgling Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) in 1990 and the Alpaca Registry (ARI) in 1996. While serving as president of AOBA, he conceived of and became the first editor for Alpacas magazine. He has been instrumental in the development of policies and practices for both AOBA and The Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI). Mike has written several brochures for the alpaca industry which continue to be printed by AOBA today including: The Alpaca Investment, Fleece to Fashion and Alpacas the Color brochure. He is also the author of Alpacas: Synthesis of a Miracle, Ideal Alpacas from Myth to Reality, The Alpaca Shepherd, and The Alpaca Chronicles.

Over the last 20 years, Mike has conducted seminars and lectures worldwide to audiences in England, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, and Peru. He has been a judge at alpaca shows in the United States, Australia, Canada, and Peru. The major shows include the AOBA National, MAPACA, The All American Futurity, Alpaca Western Extravaganza, The North American Alpaca Show, The Great Western Alpaca Show, The Kentucky Classic, Estes Park Wool Market, and the Santa Fe Alpaca Show.

NikkiSue Flanigan

Alpaca Judge NikkiSue Flanigan

NikkiSue has spent her entire life involved with animals. Growing up for many years, she participated in the 4-H program and volunteered at a local stable from the age of 10 on. By the age of 12, she had horses of her own and started showing them in hand and under saddle in both English and Western disciplines. She continued to care for horses at the local stable even after high school while working to obtain her degree in barbering and cosmetology.

The Flanigan’s alpaca adventure began with her husband Lee in 2002. They researched the industry extensively via the Internet, written literature, seminars, shows and farm visits. In 2004, their information gathering turned into business planning. East Coast Alpacas was born. Located in Limington Maine, the staff consists of NikkiSue, Lee and their two children, Austin and Alicia.

NikkiSue continued to attend as many seminars as possible as well as learning to spin, knit, felt, weave and dye fiber. Her passion for fiber arts is a never-ending project.

As her alpaca knowledge grew, so did NikkiSue’s fascination with alpaca fiber and its different characteristics. She found herself wanting to have her hands in more and more fiber.

After more seminars, fiber sorting, and working at fleece shows, NikkiSue entered the AOBA Judging program and completed her certification in 2012.

NikkiSue is honored to be apart of the AOBA judging system and looks forward to having her hands in many fleeces as the industry continues to grow over the years to come.

Peter Kennedy

Alpaca Judge Peter Kennedy

Peter and his partner established Canchones Alpacas in 1998. Starting on ten acres with two females, the herd has grown to some 350 black alpacas (250 huacaya and 100 suri). In 2003 the alpaca stud was relocated to a 400-acre ranch property in North East Victoria, Australia.

In 2004, Peter spent three months in Peru selecting black alpacas to be added to the Canchones breeding program. In all thirty Huacaya and five suri were selected by Peter and imported into Australia. Peter has been a full time alpaca breeder for the past five years. He manages the breeding program of the Canchones herd on a daily basis using the latest techniques including embryo transfer and the SRS system.

Peter successfully attended the International Alpaca Judging School in the Peruvian altiplano in 2004. He has also been certified as both an Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association and Australian Alpaca Association judge.

Since qualifying as a judge in Australia and the United States, Peter has judged shows throughout Australia Canada, New Zealand the USA.

Polly Michaelis

Alpaca Judge Polly Michaelis

Without any kicking or screaming, Polly entered the alpaca universe in 1996. She and her husband Ken created Finger Lakes Alpacas when they were lucky enough to relocate back to Central New York State from corporate occupations in Albany. In her former life Polly was a law librarian. Giving up power suits and pantyhose were just the first perks of alpaca ownership. Today, Finger Lakes Alpacas is home to over 50 Huacayas. __Polly has spent hours, days and years volunteering at AOBA National Conferences, AOBA Affiliate Grant Committee, Empire Alpaca Association Board of Directors and the Empire Alpaca Extravaganza. She is thrilled to have completed her apprentice judging program to be an AOBA certified judge for halter, fleece and performance. She is a firm believer that you must give back to this wonderful industry.

Robin Näsemann

Alpaca Judge Robin Näsemann

Robin Näsemann was born in Germany, he went to school in England and has a masters degree in economics from the university of Lugano, Switzerland. His family started breeding alpacas in 2003 and now has a herd of 70 alpacas in the west of Germany. Since 2006, Robin is a certified Screener for the AZVD (Alpaca Breeders Association of Germany) and has screened alpacas all over Europe and South America. For several years he was a member of the board in the biggest alpaca association in mainland Europe. In 2010, he began the AOBA judging training program which he finished as certified AOBA Judge for Halter and Performance in 2013. He has judged alpaca shows in France and Canada. And he frequently gives seminars about alpacas across Europe.

Ruth P. Elvestad

Alpaca Judge Ruth P. Elvestad

Ruth has over 30 years’ experience in a broad Canadian base of agriculture, business, government and academic sectors.  She has extensive teaching, curriculum and program development expertise, and has been involved in international trade, import/export of livestock, and international fibre research.

Ruth manages the Natural Fibre Testing Laboratory at Olds College, Canada; is a qualified fibre testing technician; a Certified Camelid Fibre Classer; a Certified AOBA Judge; a volunteer with the  Canadian Camelid Fibre Co-op; a founding member of the Canadian AgriFibre Network; a Wool Judge; a Suri Llama Keuring Inspector, and teaches Fibre Workshops extensively throughout North America and overseas.  Ruth and her husband, Rod, own R&R Alpacas at Olds, Alberta.

Sally Brandon

Alpaca Judge Sally Brandon

Twenty-two years ago, Sally Brandon learned to weave in Finland as an International 4-H Youth Exchange student. She came home from that trip with such a love for weaving that she built her loom from a kit and hasn’t stopped weaving since. She discovered Alpaca fiber 10 years ago and the discovery has led her into a career that envelops her whole family. She and her husband, Jay, own and operate The Shepherd’s Mill in Phillipsburg, Kansas. From alpaca to yak, they produce exquisite yarns and fabrics from the nation’s finest natural fibers. Sally continues to teach classes in spinning, weaving and other fiber arts as well as sell retail fiber arts supplies and equipment with her mother and sister.

Sara Jane Maclennan

Sara Jane Maclennan has been an AOA Certified Judge since 2005, and is a Judge Trainer for the Apprenticeship Program.  She has judged both halter and fleece shows across the United States as well as Canada.  Sara Jane is committed to a fair and thorough examination of all alpacas entered in shows as well as clear oral reasons for placement.  She believes that the show system is an excellent opportunity for breeders to learn and improve their breeding programs.  Further, she has taught many seminars at alpaca venues and conducted numerous herd evaluations.  Sara Jane is keenly interested in getting information about selection and breeding out to alpaca breeders with the goal of improving the American herd.

Sara Jane first encountered alpacas in 1971 while living and working in South America.  She and her husband Hugh began Dundee Farm in 1996.  They designed and built their farm at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Sedalia Colorado, where they stand several huacaya studs.

Sara Jane is an urban designer and has spent her professional career working on large scale downtown revitalization and transportation projects in the United States, Canada, Eastern Europe, and Asia.

Sharon Loner

Alpaca Judge Sharon Loner

Sharon Loner and her husband, Frank, purchased their first alpacas in 1993 and are the owners of Mile High Alpacas located in Parker, Colorado. Sharon soon learned that raising these beautiful animals was her calling and within three years she left her professional career as a property and casualty insurance broker to become an alpaca rancher full time.

Sharon is both AOBA and Internationally Certified to judge fleece, halter and performance alpaca shows. In 2004 she completed her international judging training through the International Alpaca Judging School (IAJS) located in Peru by Maggie Krieger and Dr. Julio Sumar and that same year became AOBA certified. Sharon remains an active farm member with the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA), her local affiliate, the Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies, (ABR) and has served as a director for the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA).

Sharon graduated from North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, with a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education and Textiles. Sharon and Frank have two daughters. Carly graduated in 2010 from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO, she now attends medical school at the University of WI, Madison, in the MD-PHD program. Jaclyn graduated from CU Boulder in 2011 with a major in Integrated Physiology. She is currently working full time as a medical assistant for a dermatologist. Sharon's husband Frank recently retired after 33 years of operating a Chick-Fil-A quick service restaurant in Aurora, Colorado. Frank is now full time alpaca ranch hand, maintenance, and "honey doer".

Sharon's goal while in the show ring is to see that every exhibitor and their alpaca are comfortable, relaxed, while at the same time having an enjoyable experience. She makes sure each and every alpaca is evaluated consistently and fairly on a comparative basis within their individual classes.

Tim Lavan

Alpaca Judge Tim Lavan

Tim along with his wife, Cindy and their two boys have been breeding and raising alpacas at Chase Tavern Farm in midcoast Maine since 1993. He is an AOBA certified halter, fleece and performance judge trainer and has judged and evaluated thousands of alpacas in and outside the USA. Tim has judged more than 50 alpaca shows. He has written articles for Alpacas Magazine and has given lectures for numerous camelid organizations. Chase Tavern Farm is home to more than 60 alpacas, both suri and huacaya. Tim is a full time alpaca farmer and is active in most of the daily activities on the farm.

Ursula Munro

Alpaca Judge Ursula Munro

Ursula Munro, together with her husband Ryen, owns and operates Tripping Gnome Farm Alpacas in Freeport Maine. Ursula has been an alpaca owner since 1998, having started out with a small herd of fiber boys. After moving to Maine in 2002, she entered into the breeding world, and the herd has grown to 100 huacayas. Her interest in judging alpaca fleeces is an extension of a lifelong interest in fiber, handwork, textiles, and animal husbandry.

Prior to obtaining her AOBA Judge certification in 2010, Ursula spent many hours volunteering at fleece shows and taking advantage of many fiber education opportunities across the U.S. and in Canada. She offers educational seminars covering fleece skirting, show prep, sorting, and grading.

Ursula is also a registered nurse and serves on the Board of Directors of the Quechua Benefit, a non-profit organization serving the people of the Peruvian Highlands. Ursula and Ryen have two daughters who love the alpacas and who truly make the farm a family enterprise.

Wade Gease

Alpaca Judge Wade Gease

Wade Gease is an AOBA certified alpaca judge, judge trainer, presenter and consultant/mediator for the alpaca industry.  Presently he serves on the board for the Great Lakes Alpaca Association, Judges Advisory Committee (JAC) and is the acting President of the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA). He has been co-owner of LondonDairy Alpacas and Alpaca Threads gift store since 1997.  Wade has been honored to be involved with so many different activities in the alpaca world: speaking for educational events, consulting for auctions, evaluating for private alpaca breeders and organizing private trips to Peru.

Hobbies have been making alpaca materials, designing alpaca products and recently has created a new wet felting machine for home/farm use to empower ranches to make on the farm products, The Wet Felting Wizard.

Wade has recently accepted to be a sales liaison for KUNA, one of the highest quality alpaca product lines from Groupo Inca, Peru.  This is the first year KUNA has released its line to the North American market.

Wade has earned an Associate’s Degree in Aeronautical Science, a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry & a Masters Degree in Biochemistry.  .  He is also a Camelid Fibre Sorter certified from Olds College Natural Fibre Centre, Canada.  His past has given him experience as a construction worker, certified flight instructor, chemistry instructor, co-owner of a retail gift store and a sale representative for pharmaceutical companies.

Wini Labrecque

Alpaca Judge Wini Labrecque

Wini Labrecque is a textile artist with interest in a wide variety of techniques. She has a very strong passion for fiber. Since the late 1980s, utilizing natural fibers, Wini has been spinning, weaving, knitting, and felting from raw form to finished product. Her handspun skeins and woven/knit goods are sold at area art festivals and in area specialty shops. Many have taken ribbons at various shows.

Wini teaches classes in beginning spinning, felting, and/or weaving to individuals or small groups. She has presented many special programs to area fiber guilds, Girl Scouts, 4H groups, alpaca farms, and alpaca conferences. She is the weaver on the sheep to shawl team for her local guild, competing in competitions 2-3 times each year at the county and state level where she has won the weavers award on more than one occasion. Once exposed to alpacas and their wonderful fiber, she has been utilizing and promoting the fiber to everyone who will listen.

Wini recently became an AOBA Certified Alpaca Fleece Judge for the alpaca industry. She passed part 1 of a Certification course on grading camelid fiber. She is also a presenter at many alpaca shows and events on topics relating to fleece and fiber. Her passion for alpaca fiber has led her to a project to develop a wash-and-wear alpaca fabric. She is currently working with the NC College of Textiles in Research & Development of this product as well as partnering with a few select area alpaca farms to pursue development of an alpaca textile company.  Her animal experience includes 10 years as a Veterinary Assistant, raising Cashmere Goats for over 10 years, and keeping a fiber herd of alpaca wethers for over 9 years. Horses, sheep, and rabbits were among earlier livestock kept on her property.