IAN & JENNIFER LUTZ
490 WHEELER CAMP RD
PERKINSVILLE, VT 05151
802-263-5740

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Cas-Cad-Nac Farm at the 2017 Futurity (or why we still love Kansas City)

The Futurity Show & Sale, as it is formally known, is at once both the most humbling alpaca show in the entire country yet conversely because of that, when you do win there, it also really means something. Few banners/trophies in the US alpaca business carry the same marketing and branding cachet as a championship from the Futurity.

Held every April in Kansas City, MO, we had actually been absent from last year’s Futurity, as we were off making college visits with our then high school junior during his Spring break. Granted, to the extent that that scheduling snafu allowed us to then attend the Mapaca Jubilee last year instead (normally the Futurity and Mapaca are too close together on the heels of NAAS/NAE to consider doing all three weekends without putting undue physical stress on our show animals), it all came out in the wash anyway. As chance would have it, we in fact have another teenager who will likewise be in 11th grade in 2018, so we will see what the calendar sends our way? Admittedly, a worry for another day.

In any case, having been away from from what is genuinely our favorite city on the entire alpaca show circuit — and we’ve seen a lot of them over the years: Springfield, MA, Portland, ME, Harrisburg, PA, Syracuse, NY, Columbus & Cleveland, OH, Fort Wayne & Indianapolis, IN, Oklahoma City, OK, Grand Island, NE, Denver & Pueblo, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, and even Portland, OR — for 24 months, it was nevertheless vitally important to get back, tag up, and see where we stood compared to many of the other top breeding programs in the country. Our spring 2017 show season had of course gotten off to a resoundingly good start at the NAAS/NAE but this, as they say, was not our first rodeo – and time, experience, and the emotional scar tissue that has come with it, has taught us to never get ahead of ourselves. We know all too well that the results of one show don’t necessarily have any bearing whatsoever on the results of the next one. Particularly when that next show is the Futurity.

The slightly complicating thing this year was of course the fact that the dance move that shows were making trying to dodge a conflict with Easter weekend, meant that the check-in day for us in Kansas City on Thursday 4/6, fell less than 4 full days after the completion of the NAAS/NAE on the previous Sunday. At least we were able to get home by early evening after the NAAS and offer the animals that would be making the KC run about a day and half of running around and stretching their legs in the pastures here on the the farm before having to re-board a trailer on Tuesday morning. In prior years, we had often taken about 30 critters with us to the Futurity, all in our largest trailer — a trailer which was more or less purchased with that run in mind —  but that was admittedly tight, especially with older males and females in the same rig. This time around with the help of our good friends and partners, the Padgett family of A Paca Fun Farm, whose truck we were able to borrow, we were able to haul out a show string of 43 animals in both our larger trailer, as well as our older 24 footer, so that we could split the alpacas into separate trailers by sex and the animals could spread out a bit more. The only divider on either rig was one splitting our sexually mature adult males and yearlings from our juveniles. The boys, especially, had a pretty cushy ride…

Team CCNF (Jen, Max, Sam, Ian, & Dave) takes a brief moment to soak in what’s happening as the show winds down on Monday. We were kind of all in a daze at this point, credit and thanks to David Skinner for coming over and offering to take a picture of us.

Joining us on this little escapade, as has been the case for several years now, was our dear friend Dave Serino, who just can’t seem to escape the clutches of alpacadom. With myself driving our truck and larger trailer, Jen and Dave traded off driving the smaller rig. One curiosity of this road trip was that the Padgett’s truck is equipped with an external diesel tank, giving it an effective range of well over 1,000 miles when fully fueled. Our truck when hauling a fully loaded trailer, in contrast, has an effective range of only 300 miles or so depending on the terrain and the presence of head/tail winds. It all seemed to work out fine in terms of timing our stops though in spite of that discrepancy. Whenever I’ve driven our show rig long distances, I’ve always tried really hard not to make any extra stops for bathroom breaks unless we also needed to refuel the truck as well. It’s a mania I’ve embraced almost to the point of keeping myself slightly dehydrated. When you’re driving for 12+ hours, not having to stop for an extra 10 to 15 minutes multiple times a day, really adds up. Though my beloved doesn’t always share my zeal for that way of thinking, the simple fact that the truck she was driving on this trek had 4x the range, meant that she could stop whenever she needed to use the facilities and then catch up whenever my truck and it’s teeny-weeny 30 gallon diesel tank needed refilling! Marital peace and balance was achieved.

In prior years we had sometimes arrived in Kansas City as early as Wednesday night (this happened the first time we were going to KC when Sammy and I were forced to push on through after driving through active tornado warnings for the final 4+ hours), only to leave the animals on-board the trailer until midday Thursday anyway. This time around, in full caravan mode and with no weather drama to speak of, we timed everything to pull into KC late on Thursday morning. Though a little dumpy looking after 36 hours spent on crowded trailers, by that afternoon we had show mats laid down, fans, water, and hay bags setup and everyone cozily bedded into their new pens which would be home until late afternoon on Monday. We even got all of the animals color checked for the show.

One of the quirks of the Futurity is that before anyone ever walks into a show ring starting on Sunday morning, there are two pretty important events that come beforehand. First and most obviously is the Futurity Sale (you know, the “& Sale” part) which happens on Saturday afternoon. The other big to-do is the Quechua Benefit’s marquee annual fundraising auction, held the night before on Friday. Both are touchstone events on the yearly alpaca calendar in their own right. Granted, for those of us without an animal in the Futurity auction itself though, it leads to some 48+ hours of not doing a whole heck of a lot besides taking care of our show animals, looking at auction critters (we did actually end up buying a lovely little female, Peony, from North Plains Alpacas), drinking beer, eating BBQ, and trying out new restaurants with friends, many of whom we only get to see a few times a year if we are lucky. I will also freely admit that sleeping in until the relatively late hour of 7:30 AM on Friday morning after 2 long days on the road + set-up, felt decidedly luxurious.

On Friday, the cavalry started to arrive in anticipation of both the Futurity Sale on Saturday night and obviously the chaos of Sunday and Monday and the reality of getting 43 animals in and out of the show rings.  Neil and Bari Padgett were the first to get there, followed on Saturday by the Lutz boys. Our sons, almost 19 and 16 years old at show time, were able to do something new this year and fly on their own from Boston. In years past, they had often flown out with Jen (Sam sometimes accompanying me in one direction on the road if there wasn’t school) while Dave and I drove the truck and trailer. But with their vacation week not falling until the week after the show in KC, and the small matter of our second trailer, that really wasn’t an option.

Yeah, yeah that’s all well and good but how did we fair at the show? The most honest answer is that we held our own. While there were admittedly a few of our animals we would have expected to do somewhat better than they did, in the end we gave at least as good as we got. Our show string this spring was both quite deep in its overall quality and very balanced as well, both across the genders, the color spectrum, and the age spectrum as well. Some of that was obviously because of breeding decisions that have really proven to be correct over time, and some of it is just down to the good fortune of animals of varying ages and colors all peaking at roughly the same time. We are super conscious of the idea that things might not in fact align quite that nicely again any time soon but we will of course enjoy this little success nonetheless. We were particularly pleased with our Elixir kids at the Futurity where his offspring combined for 3 Championships as well as the Judges’ Choice Female (see video at the bottom of this page courtesy of Alpaca Culture). In addition to that, two of those animals along with their paternal sister, CCNF Delilah (one of our yearling females now slated to retire from the show circuit and begin her reproductive career), combined to win the Light Get of Sire class for their dad, which given the level of competition in that show ring, was very exciting for all involved!

By the end of the show on Monday, we were all fairly wiped out. Sam and Max were able to stick around until midday before catching an early afternoon direct flight back to Boston. Neil and Bari likewise headed to the airport later that same afternoon not too long after the final classes left the ring. Many, many thanks to our friend Jared Johnston from Alpaca Culture, who good guys that he is, hung around long after Elvis had left the building, helping us to repack our trailers. By the time we got the now super-nasty show mats pulled out from under the soiled bedding, stowed away in the goose-neck of our smaller trailer, and got ready to pull out of the American Royal where the Futurity is held, I’m fairly certain that we were the last farm to exit the facility. Some things just never change! After a short drive that first evening of just a couple of hours, followed by a full day’s haul to Erie, Pa on Tuesday, we finally pulled into CCNF mid-afternoon on Wednesday. After being on the road for 10 of the previous 14 days with 40+/- animals at two shows, it felt positively euphoric to collapse into our own bed that night. All good.

So what, you might ask, was the secret to our success at the Futurity? Some would argue that it was all luck. Others that it was the result of plugging away at this alpaca breeding stuff for 20 years. While still others that were witness to what went down in KC might also just argue that the secret weapon was really just the ‘Net! 😉

Regardless, as with the NAAS/NAE, I will let the results below speak for themselves…

Follow me on Twitter @CCNFalpacas

Cas-Cad-Nac Farm LLC – Championships & 1st Place Finishes, The 2017 Futurity, Kansas City, MO

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Cas-Cad-Nac-Farm-Alpacas-209737157968/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155231729392969

CCNF Oriflamme (CCNF La Vie en Rose x CCNF Elixir) – Judge’s Choice Huacaya Female

CCNF Sienna (Happy Hearts Gemma D’Oro x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – Champion Fawn Huacaya Female

CCNF Oriflamme (CCNF La Vie en Rose x CCNF Elixir) – Champion Light Huacaya Female

CCNF Bataclan (CCNF Daliance x CCNF Elixir) – Champion White Huacaya Male

CCNF Eden (CCNF Johanna x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – Champion Mixed/Combined Huacaya Female

CCNF Elicia (CCNF Elizabeth x MFI Peruvian Precocious) – Reserve Champion White Huacaya Female

CCNF Elixir (CCNF Bataclan, CCNF Delilah, CCNF Oriflamme) – 1st Place, Light Huacaya Get of Sire

CCNF Lilah (CCNF Delilah, CCNF Midnatsol) – 1st Place, Produce of Dam

CCNF Magisteria (CCNF Jasmine x CCNF Magistrate) – 1st Place, Bay Black Juvenile Huacaya Females

CCNF Majesty United (TGF Let Freedom Reign x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – 1st Place, Dark Fawn Yearling Huacaya Females

CCNF Adanna (CCNF Tanzania x CCNF Elixir) – 1st Place, Medium Fawn Juvenile Huacaya Females

CCNF Sienna (Happy Hearts Gemma D’Oro x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – 1st Place, Medium Fawn Yearling Huacaya Females

CCNF Night Hawk (TGF Morning Dove x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – 1st Place, Medium Fawn Yearling Huacaya Males

CCNF Isola (CCNF Ascension x CCNF Defiance) – 1st Place, Light Fawn Juvenile Huacaya Females

CCNF Oriflamme (CCNF La Vie en Rose x CCNF Elixir) – 1st Place, Beige Juvenile Huacaya Females

CCNF Caipirinha (CCNF Questra x CCNF Elixir) – 1st Place, Beige 2 Year Old Huacaya Females

CCNF Dreadnought (CCNF Prima Majesty x CCNF Elixir) – 1st Place, Light Fawn Yearling Huacaya Males

CCNF Spittfire (CCNF The Mighty Beast Alexandra x CCNF Elixir) – 1st Place, Beige Yearling Huacaya Males

CCNF Elicia (CCNF Elizabeth x MFI Peruvian Precocious) – 1st Place, White Juvenile Huacaya Females

CCNF Bataclan (CCNF Daliance x CCNF Elixir) – 1st Place, White Juvenile Huacaya Males

CCNF Primus (CCNF Pristine x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – 1st Place, White 2 Year Old Huacaya Males

CCNF Eden (CCNF Johanna x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – 1st Place, Mixed/Combined Yearling Huacaya Females

CCNF Heidrun (CCNF Dorianna x Snowmass Matrix Majesty) – 1st Place, Bred & Owned Dark Juvenile Huacaya Females

CCNF Sweet Confection (Sugar Snow x CCNF Elixir) – 1st Place, Bred & Owned Light Juvenile Huacaya Females

 

 

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