Kristin Buhrmann and Jill Marcellus Retire
Kristin Buhrmann and Jill Marcellus Retire

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.

Kristin and Jill both began their alpaca journeys in the 1990s. Kristin certified as an AOBA judge in 2002, gaining Senior Judge and Trainer status in 2004 in halter and fleece. Jill certified as a judge in 2003, and became a Senior Judge and Trainer in 2007, also in halter and fleece. Since, they have been active not only as AOA judges, but also as trainers at both the show level, providing invaluable experience and hands-on training to judge apprentices at shows, and as trainers/instructors at AOA fleece and halter judge clinics. Their depth of experience and knowledge, along with judging advice and mentorship will be greatly missed by AOA judges.

Their skills were also recognized around the world, judging not only in the US and Canada, but also in Australia and New Zealand, the UK, and throughout Europe.

Jill Marcellus at the 2018 AOA National Show

Comments from AOA judge colleagues:

“Jill and Kristin have made an ongoing contribution to judge training over many years within the AOA judge training system. Both had wide experience in all aspects of the global alpaca industry with a deep knowledge of the alpaca that they willingly shared. They were always excellent trainers and great mentors. Their contribution to the alpaca industry is much appreciated and hopefully recognized by the wider AOA membership. Their training, knowledge and advice will be sadly missed.”

“I was really sorry to hear that Jill and Kristin are retiring, a great loss to the AOA training program and show circuit. I think they both brought a different perspective to the training, giving a broader perspective, just well grounded and offering a little diversity of mindset.

Jill as a trainer brought humility and humor, but allied with a candidness and strength that made learning informative, memorable and enjoyable. Jill treated everyone with respect. She was the consummate professional and was as a judge and trainer always worth listening to.

Kristin is a strong and quiet individual but whose incisiveness in action and words always left me clear as to her reasoning. Always willing to listen to others opinions and never disparaging or discouraging. Kristin was also the consummate professional and was as a judge and trainer always worth listening to, and she had a great sense of humor, very dry!”

“Both Jill and Kristin have been a vital part of our judging community. They have given numerous hours to benefit the alpaca judging system for many years, in many different ways. For this, I will miss them and have the utmost respect for both. As Judges we have a very unique family and these two will be remembered by all. I remember Kristin and Jill for always being so supportive when I was just beginning my alpaca judge adventure at my first judging clinic. Their kind words will always have a special place in my heart. Best wishes my friends and may your life be filled with happiness, adventure and fun always.”

“Jill and Kristin are woven throughout the collective memories of the early years of our fledgling industry. So many faces and places, highs and lows, clinics and shows, laughs and sighs, as the alpaca world experienced growth and change. From past to present, their impact remains up to and including the fleece show gold sticker award for excellence that evolved as a recommendation from Jill and Kristin. We thank you, and extend to you both, every wish for continued success in all the paths that life offers you.”

Comments from AOA show exhibitors:

“I enjoyed showing under Jill because she performed a thorough evaluation of the animals and was very skilled at giving a constructive critique and comparison of the alpacas in the ring. And she had a good sense of humor.

Kristin was also an excellent judge. Her evaluation and critique of the alpacas was always fair, well reasoned and expressed in the kindest possible way.”

“We are sad to be losing both Jill and Kristin from the senior judging ranks. In a field where you can do your job spot on, and 90% of the room still thinks you’re wrong, they both took on their judging responsibilities with professionalism and grace. The newest members of the judging corps have some big shoes to fill!”

“Jill and Kristin, if you ever want to un-retire, we would love to have you back. You are always welcome here!”

“Congratulations on your retirement. I have always admired the dedication and excellence that you brought to the judging community and the alpaca world. Thank you and well done!” Connie Alexander, former AOBA Show System Administrator

Thank you, Jill and Kristin, for your service, knowledge, experience, advice, mentoring, humor, and professionalism. From the entire AOA judging team, thank you both for your friendship!

Kristin Buhrmann and Jill Marcellus, you are, and will be, greatly missed by the participants in the AOA show system.

AOA Judges Advisory Committee