By now, many AOA members and alpaca show participants will be aware that two of our AOA Senior Judge and Judge Trainers — Kristin Buhrmann and Jill Marcellus — have retired. On behalf of the AOA Judges Advisory Committee and the entire AOA Judge group, we wish to acknowledge the contributions both have made to the US and indeed, the global alpaca industry.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we concluded the first ever AOA National Fleece Conference. It was a truly amazing event with spectacular speakers. However, I wanted to discuss just one part of the conference; the National Fleece Show. The fleece show contained nearly 550 entries, which was truly awesome! The room was packed full and the three judges (Diana Timmerman, Sharon Loner, and Wini Labrecque) had their work cut out for them.
The task of preparing for a training clinic requires a great deal of time and effort but the result is such a satisfying accomplishment. It is a relief to begin the first day of the clinic because that means the first phase of prep work is finished and we are in the on-site clinic phase. While they are required, the judges also find these clinics very valuable and some even come more often than required. A few years ago there were judges flying in from all over the world to attend a halter clinic in Ohio. It was winter and the snow piles were taller than me! I was sure we would not get everyone to the venue (I absolutely remember pacing the day prior to the clinic). What a wonderful relief it was on the first day when everyone arrived! All twenty-seven flights landed on time! Whew! The rest was downhill!