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Futurity 2015: Adventures in Road Tripping

What a way to go about acquiring a new truck! You can ask anyone that has survived my first 43 years on this earth: I’ve rarely been one to learn a lesson the easy way. When our farm truck experienced what were diagnosed at the time as fuel filter problems on the runs to/from the Futurity in both 2013 and 2014, a more reasoned person would have taken that as a sign that perhaps one should try a different tack. We all know that definition of insanity after all: doing the same thing again and again, expecting a different result?

In point of fact we had already decided ahead of time that this 2015 trip out to Kansas City would be our 2008 truck’s final long-distance haul and we had had it looked over by our local dealership the week before, in the (now apparently) futile hope of avoiding any drama on this year’s haul to KC. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some drama. Just more of the House of Cards, Battlestar Gallactica, Game of Thrones variety. Truck-breakdown-drama when hauling a fully loaded trailer of 32 alpacas with my son riding shot-gun: not so much…

Erie, PA seems like a nice enough place. Unfortunately, the fact that we got to spend 30 quality hours there after breaking down on early Tuesday afternoon, as opposed to the 20 minutes buying donuts and fueling up as we had originally planned, has left both Sam and I feeling a bit twitchy about that city though. In the end, the local GMC dealer there just gave us a new fuel filter and sent us on our way late Wednesday afternoon. All good, or so we thought, until we broke down again some 4.5 hours later. What we kept experiencing was in fact reduced engine power, which is not a good thing when the trailer you are hauling weighs about 15,000 lbs. Nothing quite like crawling along the side of the Interstate at 35 MPH, like a wounded animal, to put a smile on anyone’s face.

At that point, we were west of Columbus, near the town of London, OH and it was 11:00 PM. We managed to limp off of the highway again under our own power and find a motel nearby where we could stop for the night. That was clearly where fate stepped in. For not more than 7 miles from where we were staying, was another dealership (Coughlin GMC) that had a crack service department, willing to look at our truck first thing the next morning (Thursday now). Not lost on me was that they also happened to have a spanky-new 2015 GMC 3500 diesel truck on their lot, that was a single axle with both a crew cab and a long box: in other words, the exact truck we had planned on trading our current rig in for upon our return from Kansas City! Now this is not the way we normally like to buy new vehicles. Leaving aside the fact that we had virtually no negotiating leverage in such a situation, just as worrisome to me was the rather mixed message (money can make it all better!) it potentially sent to my sweet and impressionable teenage son. All of that said, I really didn’t care anymore at that point though. We had to get back on the road one way or another if we were to make it to the Futurity, and sinking $3000.00 and at least 5 or 6 more hours into the old truck in hopes that it might cure the underlying issue — hypothesized at that point to be a high pressure fuel pump — had very little appeal by then. Long story, short: by 11:00 AM on Thursday morning, Sam and I merged onto I-70 West again, hauling our beast of a trailer with the aforementioned new truck. Though I felt some guilt abandoning our battle-tested old truck that had hauled cross-country for us several times over, by the time we pulled over to fuel up the new rig that evening just a few hours away from KC, that guilt was quickly waning. First and foremost because of the knowledge that our new truck was not likely to sputter and die on us any time soon, and the reality of the 15K we got in trade for our old rig as well. And also let’s face it: who doesn’t like that new truck smell?

By the time we finally pulled in to the American Royal Center in Kansas City, it was about 9PM that night. Jen, Max, and our old friend Dave Serino had been there since late Wednesday and had contrived to buy new electrical cords and stall mats while they waited for us to arrive. What that meant was that other than hay, water, and the fans themselves, our show pens were ready and waiting for us when we arrived. By 10:30, the whole crew was set up and the alpacas were gleefully enjoying the extra room that came with not being stuck on the trailer any more. We headed back to our hotel for some decidedly stiff and welcome libations.

So what can I say about the Futurity show itself? It has always been and most likely always will be the toughest and most competitive show in the country. Though not the largest show by any means, everyone knows that a championship banner (or even a ribbon…of any color) has more cachet than an award from any other show in North America. You want to find out how you stack up against the best alpacas this country has to offer? There is truly only one show to do that at. So how did we fare this time around? It was a tale of two days, quite honestly. We spent goodly parts of the day Sunday (the show is Sunday/Monday after the Futurity auction which takes up all of Saturday) quite frankly getting our asses handed to us. No point beating around the bush on that one. Whether the extra time sitting on a motionless trailer with no fans (our on-board generator wasn’t working either in Erie) played any part in the appearance of our show string that day, could of course be debated ad nauseum, though it almost certainly didn’t help. Though our animals were in the ribbons — and Lord knows, we’ve certainly been there at that show before and no doubt will be again in the future — we were not generating the placings we had hoped for to be sure, with only 2 1st place finishes that first day. Our one major consolation on Sunday was CCNF Legionnaire — whom we had sold at last summer’s Breeders Edge sale — whom is now owned by the good folks at Red Granite Ranch and Amber Autumn Alpacas, winning both his class and the Fawn Male Championship. We love that boy and his genetic lines, and that result just goes to show why.

MFI's & KVR's Mint Mo Money after winning both Champion White Male and Judges' Choice Huacaya Male at the 2015 Futurity!

MFI’s & KVR’s Mint Mo Money after winning both Champion White Male and Judges’ Choice Huacaya Male at the 2015 Futurity!

Monday though, was another day and our placings would start to improve considerably. The impressive results generated by our colored animals from the Ring of Fire and Matrix Majesty lines in recent years notwithstanding, the heart of or breeding program remains anchored in the lighter colors. So it was no huge surprise that with the rise of the sun on Monday and (perhaps) the turning up of our show fans to their highest setting the night before, that we started to fair much better. Amongst others, our small group of Elixir kids would be reckoned with, all winning ribbons in their classes (including 2 1sts and 1 2nd), winning the Best Bred & Owned Female (Love Dove), and also combining to win Reserve in the light Get of Sire class! Our best result of the weekend though, came from the yearling white male class. Though MFI’s & KVR’s Mint Mo Money — our young male that we co own with our friends Wayne and Sue Robinson of Emelise Alpacas — had rather handily won his color Championship at the NAAS some 10 days prior, we’ve been around long enough to know that a result from one show does not necessarily mean squat at the next. Especially when that next show is the Futurity. When Mo first won his yearling class in KC though, we dared to think that he would at least be in the conversation (meaning the internal one Judge Peter Kennedy would be having in his head) about the two banners in the White Male Championship. When a mature male of ours (Sigil) also won the subsequent class though, the plot thickened further and in the end Mo would go on to win White Male Champion! That he would then go on to also win the Judges’ Choice Huacaya Male, was quite frankly beyond our wildest dreams, particularly on Sunday night when we had been licking some nasty psychological wounds. In the end, it must be said that the good and the bad of the week seemed to balance each other out, something which I find in the most general sense seems to have a way of always happening. So we won some and we lost some and we got a new truck. Perhaps it was all a touch more character building/testing than we might have liked, though all good in the final analysis. We did get to spend the show week with our boys (one of the only reasons we have been willing to go to the Futurity each April during their spring break) and also catch up with many old friends, which is at least half of the reason to go to these friggin’ events in the first place. If it isn’t fun after all…

By now, four days after the fact, yours truly is starting to feel human again after making a big push (with the help of Dave) to get back home around 12AM on Wednesday morning. The idea of subjecting our show animals to an extra 8 to 12 hours on the trailer, while we slept comfortably in a hotel room on the way home, was unacceptable to me after everything they had been through on the way out there. The sleep deprivation and and stress of the drive out to Kansas City are only now starting to fully fade, obviously helped in no small part by sleeping in our own beds. Of course there is never a dull moment this time of year. Now we are getting ready for the first 2 of 3 days of shearing coming up next Wednesday and Thursday. That will be balanced with Max’s appearance in his 8th grade class’s production of The Tempest also next week (anyone in KC may have noticed him quietly mouthing his play lines, while he sat ringside keeping score for us), and the other usual ongoing shenanigans as the pastures continue to awaken from their winter slumber, and we inch ever closer to the first due dates of the 2015 birthing season. Life is busy but good!

2015 Futurity, Cas-Cad-Nac Farm Championships and 1st Place Finishes

KVR’s & MFI’s Mint Mo Money – Champion White Huacaya Male

CCNF Love Dove – Best Bred & Owned Huacaya Female

KVR’s & MFI’s Mint Mo Money – Judges’ Choice Huacaya Male

CCNF Elixir – Reserve Light Get of Sire

Snowmass Matrix Majesty – Reserve Dark Get of Sire

CCNF Abby Rose – 1st Place, Dark/Medium Silver Grey Juvenile Females

CCNF Precipice – 1st Place, Dark 2 Year Old Bred & Owned Huacaya Males

CCNF True Adoration – 1st Place, White Juvenile Females

KVR’s & MFI’s Mint Mo Money – 1st Place, White Yearling Huacaya Male

CCNF Sigil – 1st Place, White 2 Year Old Males

CCNF Love Dove – 1st Place, Light Bred & Owned Juvenile Females


Follow me on Twitter @CCNFalpacas


1 comment to Futurity 2015: Adventures in Road Tripping

  • Love to read your blogs! Congratulations and so happy to see you are still dedicated to the alpaca industry. So many people were in it on a lark or just to see what they could get out of it! Hugs, Lutzes!

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