A Judge’s View
By Pam Jensen, ALSA Judge
Reprinted by Lamas of Minnesota (July 2004)
What is the suri class all about?
First of all, we need to define what a “suri” llama is. The term suri refers to the type of fiber structure the llama has. In order to be classes as a suri llama, the fiber must hang in definite and defined “locks” from the skin to the end of the lock. Thee are several different types of locks, from the one we are most familiar with—that being the twisted and corkscrew appearing pencil lock—to one that only twists on the very ends of the lock. The type of lock it may be is not the determinate factor if a llama qualifies as a suri llama.
For those of you that have not seen a suri class judged yet, you are going to see lots of head shaking and questions raised. This class will be held before ay other halter classes are held and judged. The reason is that if a llama is entered in a suri class and the presiding judge does not feel that llama fits the qualifications for a suri llama, it will be dismissed from the suri class and then be shown in the standard fiber halter class that it will fit in for the sex and age category.
It is up to the presiding judge to determine if the llama is, indeed, a suri llama. The judge will be looking at the lock structure on the body of the llama or the blanket area, then on the neck area, and lastly on the hip area. You may see the judge out there with a small flashlight checking the lock structure and the luster of the fiber—both of which help to class the fiber as suri. If the llama exhibits a defined lock structure in those areas and it is consistent throughout, it can be classified as a suri llama. The exhibitor may think he or she has a suri llama, or he or she may not think it is suri. Either way, the judge is going to make the final call on the fiber determination.
What happens if there are only a very few suri llamas entered? Then the exhibitor has a choice to make: the llama qualifies as suri, but there are not enough suri llamas in the entire class, i.e., female suri llamas or male suri llamas, to earn ALSA points. Can the exhibitor still show in the suri class? Yes. Can the exhibitor still get a grand or reserve grand? Yes. Will the suri llama acquire ALSA points? Only if there are enough suris in the entire class to qualify for points; however, the grand and reserve grand will still count, AND more importantly, the suri llama given a grand or reserve grand will still be eligible for the Grand Nationals.
My suggestion to exhibitors that think they may have a suri llama is to take a good look at the lock structure throughout the llama’s body. Be honest with yourself and your llama—if you have questions, ask the judge before the show if your llama would qualify as a suri. Level I shows do not have to offer suri classes and generally do not. Level II shows—it is optional and up to show management if they want to offer it. Level III shows must offer a suri class.
Now that the suri class has been added to the mix, the determination of fiber coverage and type has become even more of a challenge for the exhibitor. Be honest and put your llama in the class it should be in and it will work out just fine.
Show season is in full bloom now. Make sure your llamas are comfortable in the heat and humidity of our area. Don’t stress them out more than necessary in getting them ready for shows. Relax and enjoy the showing experience. Remember, shows should be, first and foremost—fun—for you and for your llama. Yes, winning is great, but the most important thing is that you have a good time and that you have done the best you can at showing.
See you in the show ring…