Nine-year-old Bentley Gilbert left the show ring with a big smile, a purple ribbon, a medal and a trophy in hand, signifying his Grand Champion fiber animal showmanship title on Tuesday at the Scotts Bluff County Fair.
“I cant believe I won, its my first year,” Bentley said, smiling.
After first spotting the furry fiber animals at the Scotts Bluff County Fair a number of years in the past, he was dead set on entering the show ring with an alpaca of his own. wire
“He said, I want some alpacas to show at the fair,” Bentley’s mother said, laughing. “So now we have them.”
Practicing a few times a week, Bentley and his 1-year-old champion alpaca named Espresso were an impressive pair, fiber animal judge Shannon Peterson said.
“A lot of the kids didn’t know the answers to questions about what the fiber from there animal is used for,” Peterson said, “But he (Bentley) knew it all."
Bentley competed against a number of fiber animals shown by 4-H members, which included a number of sheep and alpacas ranging in color and fiber types, but all judged along similar guidelines.
Fiber animals are judged according to conformation standards, used to identify the correctness of the animal's body structure, and the quality of fiber sheared from the livestock, which are all taken into consideration by the judge.
Peterson said the livestock and showmen at this year’s fair were of high quality and impressive to say the least.
In the years to come Bentley said, he looks forward to continuing showing alpacas and “getting more of them."
Bentley said showing alpacas is something that he loves and he looks forward to showing in the years to come.