2007 Jane Sheppard Event

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In April 2007, we learned about the Jane Sheppard Event through an advertisement in the Llama Link Magazine. Jane Sheppard was a respected llama owner/breeder who passed away in 2006. Her heirs were not interested in keeping llamas, more then sixty of them, Her friends came together to put on an Event that would find great homes for these llamas.

The llamas were brought to the Beacham Ranch in Salida Colorado. For months they were worked with, conformationals and behaviorally evaluated, clipped & MORE. The group then set up a website to showcase the llamas. Llamas were divided into $250/ $500/ $750 and Auction categories. The $250 pen, the largest quantity of llamas, was being offered as non breeders. A description of each llama was given. They were very honest about each llamas' good points and also of their short comings. The Event also offered a free seminar on Estate Planning. The paid seminars were by Cathy Spaulding on Llama Behavior and Virginia Christensen on Showing Llamas.

In April, Dave & I discussed the options between going to this Event or showing at the Grass Valley Llama Show. The Event won out. After all, we were going to spend money on either event and Dave would have to take a vacation either way. We would go with the van or Llama Limo and MAYBE pick up one or two llamas. We spoke with Larry Luporini of Triple 'L' Llamas. We all agreed that this was a great opportunity to add quality genetics to our herds. We would carpool together in his mansion on wheels (okay, to us it is a mansion. It has all of the bells & whistles on it. We are use to the basics in the Llama Limo).

On May 24, 2007 Larry, Dante, Dave & I headed out towards Colorado. The trip took 2 days, 21 hours of driving. Most of this was a boring drive. No offense to the people from Nevada and Utah, but I prefer hills and trees. I do like your antelope & prairie dogs though. We slept at a Flying J Truck Stop in Provo Utah. I don't think any of the adults had a really sound sleep as we were anticipating the days to follow ( kind of like kids waiting on Christmas). We reached our camp site in Salida around 2 PM on Friday. Larry quickly set up and detached the truck from the trailer & we were off to preview the llamas. The Beecham Ranch was directly across the highway from our campground.

The Beacham Ranch was awesome!!!! In your mind, think of what the perfect llama ranch should look like. That was their ranch. The log style house overlooked the barns and pastures. Aspen and pine surrounded the property. Behind it all was the backdrop on the snow covered Rockies. Wow. We found Sharon and John Beacham to be soft spoken, warm and outgoing people. What a wonderful place for this event. To add to the awe, the next few days I would get to meet people I have only read about or seen at shows.

We were the only people to come from California. In fact, we were the only people to come from west of the Rockies. This seemed to surprise many people. Most of the event we were referred to as ' the people from California'. No first names, just that. The bulk of the people came from Colorado or Wyoming. One came from Texas. We spent Friday afternoon observing llamas. There was more then just conformation. We watched behaviors & had to decide if a particular llama would fit into each ranches breeding program ( my eyes are getting older so color was a slight consideration in determining quick recognition in my own herd. I know, that's bad). We also discussed the few llamas that both of us wanted. Then it was back to the campground to have a barbequed dinner. Yep, not much sleep that night either.

Saturday we were up & all there bright & early. It was time to look at llamas & make final decisions. Then it was off to the line, at 7:30 AM, to be the first to sign our names in pen sales. Larry decided on Overman's Estafadea. We got Chinita's Princess & Overland Trails' Mariah Carey. There, we had our llamas. All had great breeding and were pregnant to three different outstanding herdsires, Yes, very outstanding indeed.

Larry, Dante & Dave spent the day with our new llamas & went into Salida in the afternoon. I signed up for the seminars held during the day. I know the Event management probably wished that more folks would have signed up for the seminar. My first class with Cathy Spaulding only had 6 people in it. My second class with Virginia Christensen only had three people ( the others from the morning class pooped out). The size of the classes allowed much individual training/help. It may have been a loss to the people that did not sign up for the classes, but it was certainly to my gain. Saturday also included the seminar on Estate Planning. There is a topic that more llama ranches should consider. What will happen to our llamas, our companions, when we are no longer here? In the evening, you guessed it, we had another barbeque at the campground. This one was put on by the campground management. As we relaxed with our plates of food, we spoke with others staying at the campground.

We slept in on Sunday & did not arrive to the Event until after 8 AM. As on Saturday, an impressive continental breakfast awaited us Sunday morning. The atmosphere was more relaxed as many of the llamas were already purchased and classes were over. Sale of the auction llamas would not start until 1 PM. In the 'office' we found bags of fiber from our llamas, ribbons, banners and plaques from the previous winnings of our llamas & halters with our llamas names on it. Again, we spent time with our llamas and looked at the auction llamas we wish we could have. There would be phone bidders during the auction & we knew that it would take us out of the running.

The auction started. The handlers were dressed in their best. The llamas looked terrific. The bidding started. No bids under $1000. Okay, that took us out of the bidding. Several llamas were passed on until bidders started getting warmed up. Then came the full Argentine females. Phone bidders volleyed back and forth with the people sitting at the tables. Our number was put up several times for a miniature Argentine female. Bidding sure went over $1000. We gave up & another Argentine stayed east of the Rockies. More llamas came & were sold. Then came the only full Argentine Herdsire. Up went our number. Then the phone bidder. Back and forth. A hesitation. Larry said something to Dave. Our number was back up. The phone bidder hesitated. SOLD. Corvo was ours!! No amount of Tums would settle my stomach for hours. I felt myself shaking. With research, I have since come to the conclusion that folks east of the Rockies want to keep the full Argentines on their side of the Continental Divide. Also, let it be known, the bidding number was NOT in my hand.

Our sincere thanks to Julie Heggie and Gayle Woodsum for their efforts in this project and putting up with my endless questions.

Okay, if you did the math, there should have been 4 llamas in the trailer on the way home that Monday. Add one to it. PHF Cadfael's Catera was added to the group. Another pregnant female. All of them loaded in without a problem. Corvo up front, the girls in back. Then came the marathon drive back. 21 hours. Larry felt comfortable driving his truck. He drove all the way to Colorado & drove most of the way back. We hit holiday 'going home' traffic from Provo to Salt Lake. We only stopped for gas & a buffet at Wendover. Larry FINALLY got tired & Dave took over somewhere in Nevada. Dave got tired and Larry took it back. Larry got too tired & guess what? The female got to drive the last 2 hours of the trip. I got to drive the truck & 5th wheel back on the windiest leg of the trip. No one died or got hurt in the process. We made it to our house at 6AM Tuesday. Upon opening the trailer door, we found great volumes of poop & urine. Green was everywhere & amongst it - something that resembled llamas.

But as I write this... all are settled in, chewing their cud, laying in the grass & watching life go by.


Our Campsite

Auction tent & ranch view

Some Event staff

Larry & Estafadea

Mariah in the 'very pregnant pasture'.

Corvo eating in front of house

Chinita's Princess in pen


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08/07/22 01:43 PM -0700