Behind-the-Scenes Photos of an Alpaca Beauty Pageant

By: Sophie Barclay
Photo: By Cinzia Jonathan
Photo Caption: Sue Richards, pictured above with 10-month-old Pamukkale, winner of the Supreme Champion Suri award. Sue has been on the scene for 20 years, and insists all her alpacas will die of old age on her farm. "There is a bit of a move for people to go into alpaca meat," she says, "but that's not what we do."

The floats are loaded, the toenails are trimmed, and the fleece has been shorn.

Each year, alpaca aficionados and breeders from around New Zealand head to Rotorua's famous Animals and Produce Show for a shot at the big time: a rare, red, first-place ribbon. Hard evidence that their alpaca is the best alpaca.

We went along to document the drama.

Read the original and view the photos here.