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ABR Hosts Successful Event, The Great Western Alpaca Fleece Round-up
More than 100 alpaca industry members recently gathered at the National Western Complex for a weekend of learning more about alpaca fleece sorting, grading and selling. The three-day Sortathon was organized by the Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies.
By: Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies
In addition to observing the four individuals who were grading and sorting fleece, participants watched demonstrations on how to “noodle” a fleece, how to pack and box fleeces for shipping at the lowest possible cost, and hand spinning and use of an electric spinning wheel. “We also had a fiber dying demonstration and project for children so it was an event for the whole family,” says Sharon Loner of Mile High Alpacas, one of the organizers of the Sortathon.
The four mini mills that attended the ABR Sortathon (including the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America, AFCNA) purchased raw fleece, took in numerous orders from breeders to process their fleeces and had trailers “packed to the roof” with fiber to take back to their mills. More than 800 pounds of alpaca fleece was sorted and graded with more than $4,200 in raw fiber sales. “The event was successful for alpaca owners and the mills so we plan to repeat it and expand it next year,” Loner adds.
“I was able to disperse my entire 2013 fleece harvest to several vendors all in one day and under one roof,” says Mary Ann Mahaffey of Absaroka Alpaca Ranch. “This event was very beneficial, saved me a great deal on shipping costs, and now I can park my car in the garage once again.”
“We learned so much at this event regarding our alpacas’ fleece and got valuable information from the seminars,” says Theresa Richardson of Richardson Royal Alpacas.
"What a great weekend!” says Sandy Johnson of Chimera Ranch, who helped organize the event. “In working with the sorters and attending the seminars, we learned what the fleece industry requires to create those luxurious alpaca items. I was able to identify what I needed to do to improve the overall fleece characteristics of the offspring of those fleeces that I submitted for evaluation. It’s more than just the blanket that is of value. Every part of the fleece has a usable function and the focus was on the ‘best application’
Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies had its beginnings in Colorado in 1994 and in 1996, became a member of the national association, AOBA. The purpose of ABR is to support its members through education, marketing events and public awareness. For more information, visit www.alpacabreeders.org.