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MaPaca - Eastern Alpaca Jubilee, April 25-27, 2003

In April 2003, Thistledown Alpacas joined almost 300 alpaca breeders at the Pennsylvania Farm Complex in Harrisburg, PA for MaPaca 2003 - the largest alpaca show in the nation and one of the largest in the world, with over 1500 entries.

To say we were delighted to walk out of every halter and performance class we entered with a ribbon in hand would be an understatement! The judge commented that Fiona, our multi-color girl was "well-deserving" of her blue ribbon in the composite class (fleece and halter judged separately, then scores combined), and was particularly complimentary about the quality of her fleece. Angus and Brianna both placed in halter against some of the toughest competition in the country, and our daughters won ribbons in all their performance classes, some of which had as many as 25 entries. Eight ribbons out of eight entries - that will be tough to beat next year, but we'll certainly try!

Fiona, MaPaca 2003

Best friends with their first ribbon of the show!
Usually we attend just two shows a year - the Virginia Classic and MaPaca. After the fun the kids had at this show, we are beginning to think about doing some more in the Fall!

Fiona, our multicolor girl out of Peruvian Black Jack Jax and our herd leader Clara, won a blue ribbon in the composite class, where the alpaca is judged in the ring for conformation, the fleece is judged separately, and the two scores combined for final placement. The judge was particularly complimentary about Fiona's fleece, and commented that she was "well-deserving" of her first place position. 

First time in the ring, and they even walked out with a "medal".

Tension mounts in the showring during judging of the PR class.
Angus, who was only 10 days over the minimum age limit to show, placed fifth in an extremely competitive dark brown juvenile halter class. The class included entries from some of the largest and most prestigious alpaca breeders in the country, so we were proud to place with our young "bred and owned" male.

Brianna also placed fifth in her light silver grey juvenile halter class, which was a little disappointing as she is a real beauty, but didn't behave as well in the ring as we would have liked. The competition was also excellent - two of the best greys from Alpacas de la Patagonia and two of Fleecy Dale's finest! The judge did comment that Brianna was a great breeding female, and we plan to breed her with our multiple award-winning grey herdsire Ben MacDhui in due course.

A sense of pride after placing 3rd in a tough PR class.

Hula "girls" 
The girls had a great show, meeting up with all the other 'paca kids again. Our eldest, who started showing this year at 8 years of age, placed third in youth PR, 4th in youth obstacle, 4th in showmanship and 4th in costume. At 5 years of age in her first show ever, our middle daughter won a 4th place "medal" in costume, while our youngest watched and waited in the wings for her opportunity to shine!
Waiting in the wings....
Taliesin's Tricks Make the Front Page, June 2003

Photo Courtesy of the Goochland Courier, June 2003
In June 2003, Taliesin and his young friends Angus and Demelza took a trip to our local county preschool for a carnival to celebrate the end of the school year. Our eldest daughter put Tali through his paces over and over again - he walked backwards, sideways and through a hoop, jumped over obstacles, lifted one foot on command and bowed at the end of each performance! Tali was extremely well-behaved, despite the heat and being surrounded by many young, and sometimes noisy(!) children. He even let some of the 3 and 4 year old preschoolers take him for a walk. 

The following week, we were surprised and delighted to see this lovely picture in glorious color, on the front page of our local paper, the Goochland Courier!