Hundreds of alpacas coming to Denver for the 2017 National Alpaca Show

The Denver Channel
By: Oscar Contreras
Photo: Courtesy of The Denver Channel

DENVER – If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a selfie with an alpaca, you better get ready because hundreds of them will be in Denver next weekend.

The 2017 National Alpaca Show is coming to the National Western Complex from March 17 to March 19. Better yet? You’ll be able to get in for free.

During the three-day event, hundreds of alpaca lovers and fiber artists from across the country will have the chance to learn more about the growing North American alpaca industry.

You will also have the chance to see the latest in alpaca fashion and get to see some of the handcrafted items that can be created using their fleece.

The coolest part though? You’ll also get the chance to meet the alpacas face-to-face and take selfies with them at a designated alpaca selfie booth.

A show participant and owner who has mastered the art of the alpaca selfie has a few tips for you:

     Bring your sense of humor and perseverance.
    Alpacas prefer to be touched on the neck, sides and back. They don’t love being scratched behind the ears or on the head.
    Do not stand behind the alpaca. They prefer to keep you in sight.
    They may hum a tune for you while you are taking your selfie. Feel free to sing along!

If you don’t have a camera handy, a volunteer will be happy to take your picture and email it to you.

The event will also feature alpacas competing in a ring competition, as well as classes judging conformation and fleece quality in many categories for both Suri and Huacaya alpacas, according to organizers.

Red Granite Ranch, a family-owned ranch located in Livermore (north of Fort Collins), will also be participating at the show.

Among the 450 alpacas at the ranch, 2-year-old Val-d'Isère stands out as an award-wining alpaca who's taken home the first place award for a male dark supreme champion.

The ranch has also won the 2010 Futurity Small Breeder of the Year, the 2012 Futurity Reserve Medium of the Year and the 2015 and 2016 Futurity Reserve Large Breeder of the Year awards.

About alpacas

Alpacas are cousins to the llama and are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America, particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile.

Today, the United States boasts two types of alpacas. Although almost physically identical, the two types of alpacas are distinguished by their fleece. The huacaya is the more common of the two and has a fluffy, extremely fine coat. On the other hand, the suri is more rare and has fleece that is silky and resembles pencil-locks.

Adult alpacas stand at approximately 36 inches at the withers and generally weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. They do not have horns, hooves, claws or incisors.

Alpacas are alert, intelligent, curious and predictable. Social animals that seek companionship, they communicate most commonly by softly humming.

Alpacas are shorn without harm every twelve to eighteen months. Each alpaca can produce five to ten pounds of fleece.

The 2017 National Alpaca Show will take place on Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Sunday, March 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 pm.

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