I went to hang out with llamas at the Ohio State Fair last weekend. I’ve shown llamas for more than 20 years now, but I’ve been slowly tapering that off for the last couple of years. The last time I was in a show ring with any of my llamas was April 2012. I was showing Tango, and we won Grand Champion in our performance division. That’s him, below, modeling the last championship medal we won together. (Please excuse his fiber. This was at a “no groom” or “hobo” show. That basically means it’s an “early in the year, and we haven’t taken the time to groom, but we need practice show.”)
I paid the price on my way home that night. I was in so much pain from my knee that I knew I couldn’t continue to show. When I started sobbing and didn’t stop until I got home two hours later, I knew I was in trouble. So now I go to the llama shows as a spectator and helper instead of a competitor. In some ways, it’s better. I sit around a lot more, and I have more time to chat with friends. I don’t starve because I’m showing all day and have no time for a lunch break. I also don’t have to look good enough to go in the ring. Which means I often look a hot mess because I’ve been standing on my head grooming someone’s hairy legs.
This weekend, I had a last-minute opportunity to go into the show ring. I looked awful. It was hot, and I was dirty. But when I was presented with an opportunity to show, I jumped at the chance. Then I got to the ring, and the nerves hit like a hurricane out of nowhere. I was so nervous, I started shaking, and my insides felt like jelly. We didn’t do all that well, but we made it through the course in one piece. Win!
On an aside… One time, I got so nervous while in the ring, I started tearing up. I was maybe 13? The judge was very kind and asked if it was my first time showing. “Yes,” I sobbed. When he had placed the class and was explaining the placings in his oral reasons, he made careful mention of me and said I had a lot of potential but that it was my first time in the ring. Except, I had lied. I’d been showing for several years by that point. So, yeah…
I’m not ready to jump back into showing–not by any means–but I had a blast in the one class I went through this weekend. It’s pretty hard to not be in a good mood when surrounded by llamas. They’re basically like giant dogs. They all have personalities. They’re all curious. Some of them are very highly trained animals. And they’re just so fluffy. Oh my goodness, the fluff! If you don’t smile at a llama, you’re dead inside.
I didn’t show Oso, but I groomed him. So he needed to be featured here.