The International Alpaca Odyssey show was originally created to bring the International Show Rules to North American Alpaca breeders in an active setting. The founding members of the IAO committee believed that the International Show Rules needed to be utilized in such a way that the North American Alpaca Industry could see and experience those rules first hand and then adopt those facets of the International Rules that made sense for our industry moving forward. At the heart of the IAO managing committee’s motivation was to be an idea house and proving ground for new innovative show rules that could possibly benefit the North American Alpaca Industry as a whole. Moving forward, now that a majority of the facets of the International Rules have been adopted into the North American Alpaca Judging Systems, the IAO managing committee will continue to showcase new innovative Alpaca Judging Rules for the North American Industry to experience first hand.
As an industry we acknowledge that while it is important for continued improvement in our national herd in pursuit of a commercial fiber market, there needs to be equal recognition and a process for feedback for the alpaca that is serving the existing small processor market today and into the future. The basis for these rules is the idea that the current North American Alpaca herd can be seen as two sectors. One sector is focused on breeding goals whose outcome is the best possible alpaca for large-scale fleece production to a commercial mill. The other sector is focused on our current cottage industry model where it is the value of today’s fleece to the cottage industry processor [hand spinner to the mini-mill] that sets the standard. The rules contained herein are focused on providing a judging standard for evaluating animals and fleeces for their value in today’s Cottage market.
For 2015 IAO will try a new focus for their Cottage Shows. That focus will be to ensure that every exhibitor gets feedback on their entry be it written or oral. The fleece shows implicitly provide that level of feedback thru the scorecards. It is the Halter show that lacks a mechanism to ensure every exhibitor receives oral feedback with traditionally only the 1st-6th placings receiving feedback and the rest of the class being judging being dismissed. So for 2015 the maximum class size will be set at 10, with the first 6 placings receiving ribbons but all exhibitors will receive oral reasons for their placing.
Cottage [Small Processor]: The Small Processor Division is focused on those attributes of a sound alpaca whose fleece will be valued in our Cottage/Craft Market, as it exists today. This division shall be judged on fleece characteristics that are valued by hand spinners, hand processors and small scale mill operators, with no judgment on uniformity of color. Emphasis is placed on fine fleeces with excellent handle, absence of guard hair, and uniformity of micron, length and style. Since all colors are valued equally in the Small Processor marketplace, the color divisions will not be yarn based but base fleece coat color. With smaller lots being processed, cottage fleeces will produce one of a kind end products which will promote higher revenues, as such there is a reduced emphasis on fleece weight.
There exist in the world alpaca industry a number of quality breed standards. Each year the show will choose a set of established breed standards to judge to. The choice of breed standard will be published with the exhibitor entry forms. Ranking of traits in the IAO rules will supercede any rankings listed in the breed standards.