2007 Nationals & Vegas

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Our trip would start on October 23rd, Tuesday. The only place we knew we were going was Nationals in Nebraska. The rest of the trip would be 'played by ear'. This would be the first year Nationals was held this early. The weather was great for the whole trip.

 

With the cost of gas being outrageous, we elected to take the LlamaExpress (the van). On the way to Nebraska, we would drive until we were tired & then all of us would sleep in the van.

 

The trip out was uneventful. We would drive a few hours & get out to stretch our legs, etc.

We spent the nights near Salt Lake, Utah and Grand Junction, Nebraska.

We arrived at the Lancaster Event Center on Thursday, around 1 P.M. We settled Lakota into his stall and said hello to folks we knew. Lakota was given a bath & we crossed our fingers, hoping he would stay clean for Saturday.

Friday started the Nationals. We watched the opening ceremonies, cart driving, suri & youth classes. Being that we only brought Lakota and he was entered in only on class on Saturday, we had the opportunity to watch more llama classes then we have ever seen before. In the evening, we attended the cocktail party. We arrived in line about a half hour after it started and waited in line for nearly an hour. When we reached the buffet tables, we looked back to see around 100 people still behind us. We also found all of the hot meat trays to be empty. Oh well, we contributed to the cause.

We did not experience high anxiety or nerves. We had been to Nationals two previous times - 2002 & 2004. We had seen the grand scale of this show. We had seen the big scale ranches and their fabulous llamas. We no longer dreamed to place in a class. We came for the grandeur of the show, cheer for the folks we admired and watch people!

Saturday came.

We arrived early to walk Lakota out and take him to the bathroom. Since both of us were still nice and calm- we watched the female light wool classes and the juvenile male light wool class. It was then time to get Lakota. A quick brush out & we were set

Okay, nerves started to set in then. But a deep breath (and a few trips to the little ladies room) & the class would soon be started.

We lined up and were called into the ring by number.

We made our circle around the arena and set up the llamas. A few were moved to the medium wool class. The other 12 llamas would go on to compete. We squared up, presented to the three judges and walked around the arena, Then we waited for numbers to be called. Anyone who did not get their number called was not one of the top ten llamas and left the ring. We were called - WE MADE TOP 10!!!

All of the other Top 10 for Light wool males entered the ring- 50 llamas in all, juvenile, 2 yearling classes, two year olds and us (the Adults).

Placements were announced starting with juveniles. By the time it came to us, only 10 llamas were in the ring. Our placements were being called.

As is his way, Dan Milton (the announcer) call the placements real slow, or maybe it just seemed that way. 10th...9th...8th...7th. Now I was getting really nervous. Was I suppose to be one of the llamas that were to leave the ring?? 6th...5th...4th. A quick count. Was there one too many standing in the ring? 3rd. Oh my god, there were only two of us there.

'...And second goes to PFO Lakota'

Wow!!! I was so amazed and beside myself, I forgot to congratulate the handler who came in 1st Place (if you ever read this, I'm sorry- Congratulations!)

The two of us stayed in the ring for Champion class. We set up, we walked around & we set up again. The 1st place llama in the adult class placed Reserve Grand Champion.

LAKOTA PLACED #3 AS OVERALL LIGHT WOOL MALE!

(out of all of the males in the Division)

Now though Lakota placed second in the Light Wool Adult Class, the Nationals had another name for it- NATIONAL RESERVE CLASS CHAMPION. I think we will use that one! The second best Light Wool Breeding male in the U.S. & home grown from OUR LITTLE RANCH!!!

Sunday found us hitting the road again. The weather was good, so we would head for Vegas. We did an all day marathon drive & parked at some small town about 100 miles west of Denver to sleep.

We hit the road early on Monday. The intent was to hit Vegas by the end of the day BUT anyone who knows us KNOWS that we are a little impulsive. We saw the highway heading for the Grand Canyon & we took it.

It was a good choice because the road was much more scenic then the one we were on. We stopped along side the Colorado River to stretch our legs and stopped a THE HOLE IN THE ROCK to do the tourist thing. We arrived at the Grand Canyon around 10 PM

We spent many hours at the Grand Canyon on Tuesday. Many pictures were taken, including a photographer employed at the Canyon. We have previously experienced that specific cultures approach picture taking in different ways. Some ask first, some don't. We have found that one culture will grab the llama away, holding it by the clasp (several times we have to pull our llama back).
This time we encountered a new challenge. We were by the lodge taking pictures with many people. A Scandinavian couple approached Dave and Lakota with their daughter (around 10 years old). The father picked up his daughter and put her on Lakota's back. No asking- no warning. The parents immediately backed up to take pictures. Lakota was good with it, we were in shock! The girl was promptly removed.
 

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01/16/19 03:39:49 PM -0800