Futurities are big business in the USA and Canada and act as a showplace for all American and Canadian owners. They bring together breeders who want to show off their best stock and buyers who can view alpacas bred by a large number of farms in one place and in a cost effective manner. This year’s Futurity, held in Kentucky, had 925 alpaca show entries and the average auction price was $42,000, the highest selling animals went for over $100,000 and $200,000 was raised for charity at the evening banquet.
The Canadian National Alpaca Sale and Futurity kicked off in 2002 after a group of breeders met up at AlpacaFest in July 2001 and burnt the midnight oil in a series of ‘brainstorming’ sessions about organising a world class event to promote their industry. That autumn they held a Stud Service Auction that raised $46,000 for prize money for the show and subscribed 37 studs to the April 2002 Futurity. The original thirteen participating farms were joined by many others and in 2005 sixty seven studs were nominated. Their original aims are very similar to the ones of the British farms who are involved in organising the British Futurity – to create a quality sale advertised at home and abroad; to set up a spectator friendly Futurity to showcase juvenile and yearling alpacas and to attract new people to the industry.
Why a futurity?
Any of you who read this august organ from cover to cover will have noted that our sainted editor announced in the last issue that there was to be another major alpaca show this year: The British Alpaca Futurity. What is a Futurity? Why have one in an already busy season of shows? Should you take part?
Forgive me if you know all about them or have seen them in Australia, Canada or Australia. They follow a slightly different format but all have the same purpose—to add some razzamatazz to the format of the usual county agricultural shows, to wave the alpaca flag with lots and lots of attendant publicity, to sell alpacas at very good prices and to have a good time.
Let me explain in outline the format of The British Futurity: It is designed to be a showpiece for all British alpaca breeders, large or small. It will take place at Newbury racecourse in the Grandstand Suites (very grand!) on November 4 and 5 2006.
It is open to any alpaca offspring, over six months of age on November 4, 2006, of all “nominated” Herd Sires. The offspring must be domiciled in Europe and be registered with the BAS either directly or by registration with the BCA.
Nominating a Herd Sire requires the owner (or any other person with the owner’s permission) to pay a nomination fee. This nomination then makes all of that male’s offspring eligible for the event.
A Herd sire must be domiciled in Europe and registered with the BAS either directly or by registration with the BCA to be eligible for entry. Nominating a Herd Sire entitles the owner to cash awards won by its offspring which achieve 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in the ring. In addition Herd Sires will be featured in Futurity advertising, brochures and the catalogue with full owner attribution. The owner of each qualifying offspring pays an entry fee for each alpaca entered. Entries will compete in classes run under BAS rules and the top three in each class will win cash awards. The top two in each class will move on to the Championship classes. There will be colour championships only. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first two places in each of the Championship classes. The Show Championship will be awarded to the nominated sire that has won the most money during the show and this ‘Futurity Champion’ will be announced during the dinner where a cash prize and cup will be awarded to the owner. Val Fullerlove from the UK and Jude Anderson, who commutes between her Pucara Stud in Australia and the USA, will judge the classes jointly.
There will be a Grand Dinner at the end of the first day preceded by a lecture by Jude Anderson on “ How anyone can create a viable alpaca business.” There will be an auction at the end of the dinner.
Any breeder can put forward any animal to be sold at the auction and information on how to do this will be on the website www.BritishAlpacaFuturity.com. There will also be two or three ‘wild card’ slots where animals that have been shown at the Futurity can go into the auction. The alpacas will be paraded at the dinner (on deep pile carpet!) during the auction and will be available for further inspection on the dining floor and in the main hall during the day. The Alpaca Stud has generously agreed to donate an alpaca for the auction and the proceeds of that sale will be split between the new charitable body the British Camelids Association and the Quechua Benefit, based in Peru.
In addition to the sponsored males we will be asking all breeders to contribute matings from one or more of their studs for an auction of promises which will start on the Futurity website in a few weeks time - www.BritishAlpacaFuturity.com
The British Alpaca Futurity is a non-profit making event. All entry money will be returned in prizes after costs are met. In the unlikely event that there is a surplus from sponsorship money/stands/promoters it will be put towards next year’s event. However, it is likely, on present predictions, that the sponsors will have to dig deep.
Will another show be an unnecessary burden on our season and breeders generally? I don’t believe so. The Futurity is in November when a lot of breeders will already have cria reaching six months of age, all alpacas will have a reasonable amount of fleece and it provides a fillip to that long stretch between the Royal and next year’s season. If it becomes a regular event it could become a showcase for alpaca sales whether in the auction itself or round the pens. Breeders will have had time to digest the season’s show results and start looking at their needs for improvement and herd additions for next year. There is no conflict with the agricultural shows and the intention is to keep exactly to BAS rules.
Is it a show mainly for the bigger breeders? Absolutely not! It is an occasion where all breeders, however small, can participate. There is no limit on numbers. The facility can be adjusted to take almost any number of alpacas and judging can be provided—although we don’t expect to be overwhelmed, at least in the first year. We hope breeders will attend who only have one alpaca to show—or even none at all, to be able to see the showing, listen to our keynote speaker and experience the excitement of the auction. Will the smart money buy animals that have taken the ribbons?
It is an occasion for everyone to have a good time. There will even be a grand firework display before dinner that can be watched from the glass fronted 3rd floor dining suite, well away from the alpacas who will be safely housed in the grandstand building. A series of workshops will be run, subject to demand.
Let us try and make this a regular event when everyone can get together and discuss the latest developments in our industry, the showing results, or just for a gossip!!
The originating sponsors are The Alpaca Stud, Alpacas of Wessex, Bozedown Alpacas, EP Cambridge UK, Classical MileEnd Alpacas and Langaton Alpacas.
For more information on any aspect of the Futurity please contact John Potts on 01903 891425 or go to www.BritishAlpacaFuturity.com Full details and nomination forms will be mailed to everyone shortly. Please mark your diaries.