Dreamin’ Jase is a pretty even-tempered dude.
Until the judges try to take some fibre off him.
Then he’s “a bit of a handful in the show ring,” according to Bruce Peters, owner of Dreamin’ Alpacas Inc. of Hague.
Dreamin’ Jase was named the Supreme Champion at the Premiere Alpaca Event during the Canadian Western Agribition in Regina on Tuesday, November 20. The show, hosted by the Saskatchewan Alpaca Breeders Network (SABN), attracted producers from across western Canada, and was the largest show of its kind, providing a high-profile gathering place for alpaca breeders to show and market their animals.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Peters in a phone interview on Friday, November 23. “We’ve been in the industry since 2011, and even though we’ve won some awards in the past at smaller shows, this is the first Supreme Championship.”
Dreamin’ Jase also came first in Class 308 (Mature Male Fawn), Class 309 (Champion and Reserve Champion Fawn), and Class 708 (Champion Mature Male).
Four other animals owned by Peters also won awards: Dreamin’ Conopa’s Rambo placed first in both Class 206 (Yearling Male Brown) and Class 209 (Champion and Reserve Champion Brown); Aftershocks Ace of Altra Nova placed second in Class 206 (Yearling Male Brown); Dreamin’ Nashville placed second in Class 306 (Yearling Male Fawn); and Arriba Egniter placed second in Class 308 (Mature Male Fawn).
The Dreamin’ Alpacas operation has 43 Huacaya Alpacas in the breeding herd. Nine are males and the rest are females. The gestation period for alpacas is 11 months.
“We’re striving for excellence in our breeding program,” said Peters, who operates the farm with his wife Loretta. “The goal is to have animals that produce a very fine, dense fibre. The more fibre you can get off your animal, the more money you make.
“We shear them once a year in April. Some animals you might get four pounds of fibre, while others you can get as much as ten pounds.”
After an animal is sheared, the fibre is sorted according to its quality, and sold either to a mill in Alberta or a company in Saskatchewan. High quality fibre is made into yarn, while lower-quality fibre is used as batting.
Peters said alpacas, which are native to Peru, Chile and Bolivia, are generally mild-natured animals.
“They are the opposite of high-maintenance,” said Peters. “We’re busy in the spring with the shearing and the baby animals being born, but other than that they are happy to be outside with just a three-sided shelter to protect them from the wind. They hate the wind.”
This year marked the return of alpacas to the Agribition show ring.
“It’s been about 16 years since the last show,” said Peters. “When they built their new barns, that allowed some more room so they were able to accommodate our show. It was a blast. We know the other breeders so there was a lot of socializing and networking.”
Peters said thousands of spectators came through the Agribition gates, and a lot of them were viewing alpacas for the first time.
“Quite a few people were calling them ‘emus’ – which is actually a type of bird,” said Peters. “We did quite a bit of education. I think it helped raise the profile of the industry, and that’s a good thing.”