MOUNT VERNON — The 2019 Knox County Junior Fair saved the best for last with its Llama and Alpaca Show on Saturday. The show included many veteran llama handlers and some first year handlers all ready to show off their hard work.
Isabel Hooley has been showing llamas at the fair for about seven years now.
“My mother had an interest in llamas and since she couldn’t be in 4-H, she put me in it,” Hooley said. She is involved in the Llamas R Us 4-H Club in Mount Vernon.
“I came to love them so much we got three of our own,” she said. Llamas are used for their wool to make things such as socks, sweaters, tack, yawn, and anything fleece-related. She said that training is based off their personality, and you have to work with their personality to get them show ready.
“They’re easy to work with and great company animals. You can just sit and love on them,” Hooley said.
Unlike Hooley, this is Dani Bumpus’s first year showing a llama at the fair.
“My friend shows llamas and I thought it would be a good thing to do,” Bumpus said. She said she enjoys the process of learning how to show the llamas and that they are pretty easy going animals.
Anysten Vanhouten has shown both cows and llamas for three years at the Knox County Fair. She is involved with the County Critters 4-H Club.
“My uncle owns a big llama farm,” she said, and that’s what got her into showing animals at the fair. “I go and hang out with them in the pasture.”
Training llamas, she said, is based on the llama you have and how old they are when you start training them. The younger they are, the harder they are to train. Vanhouten has had her llama, Joy, since she was born at her uncle’s farm.
“My uncle and I have worked with her since she was born,” Vanhouten said. “We worked with her a lot and now she knows how to show.”
Vanhouten has shown llamas in Indiana, Kentucky, and other places in Ohio but only shows her cows at the Knox County Fair and the Hartford Fair.
“I enjoy hanging out with the animals and spending time with them because I’ve always loved animals,” she said.