I showed llamas starting in 7th grade (2004) through my senior year of high school (2009). In 2006 I became the grand champion for my age group in the entire northwest region, then I went to the grand nationals and placed in the top ten for my age division twice. I am in college now and my llama is now retired and so am I. AMA.

Proof:

My first ever llama show: http://i.imgur.com/wbGYy.jpg

Getting ready to do a walk for MS: http://i.imgur.com/kQscZ.jpg

Getting our photos taken before fair: http://i.imgur.com/22I7M.jpg

Us at Nationals after placing in the top ten in our first class: http://i.imgur.com/Ob4vt.jpg

EDIT 1 Wow thank you so much guys! I had no idea this would get so big. I am really glad that you all really enjoy reading about me and my lovely llama. Here are some more photos of us for your enjoyment:

http://i.imgur.com/EAzQ8.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/DSxmx.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Ev8HJ.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/ms7vl.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/R4ZtD.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Lym07.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/BZs2G.jpg

EDIT 2 I would like to extend my deepest thanks to you all. I had no idea Reddit would be so receptive to me and my hobby. You've truly made my day/week/month/year/life in a way that you probably will never know. Thank you so much.

Comments: 1216 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

TimeZarg882 karma

The twist: OP is the llama.

littlesoubrette1002 karma

I am a llama. AMA.

Buttpoker618 karma

The internet is fascinating. Llama competitions, who knew

littlesoubrette375 karma

I know right! I was looking at AMAs last night and decided to try my luck with my one weird little hobby.

eyesonly_191 karma

Seems more like a lifestyle than a hobby.

littlesoubrette133 karma

If you lived on a ranch, it was. Since I didn't own my llama, it was more of a hobby.

elcarath67 karma

If you didn't own your llama, what exactly was the situation? It seems odd to me that you'd be showing somebody else's llama.

littlesoubrette220 karma

I leased my llama. I paid a monthly fee and did some chores around the ranch and they let me train him and show him all I wanted. I felt like it was a really fair trade off because I lived in town and couldn't have a llama.

internetsuperstar248 karma

Your AMA makes me happy. I have no questions.

littlesoubrette110 karma

Thank you!

CanadianLlama206 karma

I love the picture of you and your llama at Nationals, mostly because of laser llamas. What is the llamas name?

littlesoubrette233 karma

Laser llamas! My llama's name is Lucero de Noche. I didn't name him, but it means bright star of night, or something like that. His mother's name meant star and his father's name meant knight. I called him Noche for short though. And of course, all the silly nicknames that followed: Nochoco, Lucello, Noch, Llama, etc. Haha.

CanadianLlama28 karma

That sounds like an a very fancy name, it seems fitting though. He has very nice fur, and it looks very soft. You're super cute, how old was Noche when he retired?

littlesoubrette85 karma

Yes! He was super soft and warm. Let's see, Noche was 10 years old when he retired. He could have had 2-4 more good show years though. They live to be 18-25 but eventually their pasterns (ankles) will drop with old age, a completely normal and painless event, but you can't show them with dropped or "squishy" pasterns. I don't know why, but it's the rule.

bigavz53 karma

Do the llamas care about their name, can they or be trained to recognize their name?

littlesoubrette100 karma

Yes, they recognize their names like dogs do.

Snakesniper179 karma

Are you ever at a contest and then you see alpaca out of nowhere?

littlesoubrette176 karma

Yes. Actually, I should have clarified... at these shows you can show llamas and alpacas together. Most people showed llamas as alpacas can't really carry packs because of their diminished size. But for 4-H, lots of kids used alpacas.

findingchemo162 karma

How are Tom and Katie?

littlesoubrette136 karma

OMFG. Who is this? Ekat?

findingchemo151 karma

littlesoubrette116 karma

Oh right on.

thelambinator118 karma

I showed my llamas (Wookie, Solo, and Leia), never got very far with it. I did always place first in costume classes though! Wish I had some pics, but they are all in albums at my mom's house. *Edit; Found a pic on my mom's website! (the llama pictured is Solo. RIP Solo) http://www.kvcarriage.com/Resources/Tiger-llama.jpg

littlesoubrette14 karma

OMG SO CUTE.

Quouar108 karma

What's the hardest thing about showing llamas versus showing, say, horses? What does one judge when judging llamas? Do you have a favourite llama story?

littlesoubrette260 karma

So I've never shown horses, but I imagine it's similar. So when you show llamas, you usually participate in 4-5 different classes. Each class has different content.

Showmanship is how well you and your llama work together to show off his/her good qualities. This would be if your llama was in a show based on his/her breeding characteristics, etc. But for me, my llama was not breeding stock so we just did it for the skills involved. Basically you dress up all fancy (as in the photo I posted from Nationals) and parade your llama around looking snazzy. It's pretty boring IMO.

Pack/PR/Obstacle are all similar, but are divided into three different classes. These are really intense obstacle courses, similar to dog agility courses. Pack class tests your llama's ability to maneuver through obstacles that you'd find if you were backpacking. They have to wear a pack with about 40lbs in it for this class. Usually there's water obstacles, logs to jump over, etc. PR is basically a class all about stuff you'd find out in the public. Balloons, strollers, jumping in and out of cars, and other things if you were to go and do a parade or walk with your llama (which I did every year). And obstacle class is everything left out of the previous two classes. Anything involving teeter-totters, tires, hula hoops, etc.

The final class that is only occasionally done at local shows and never at nationals is costume class. This is pretty much where you and your llama dress up and the most intense, creative, and challenging costume would win. I mopped the floor with my competition 99% of the time when I did costume class. Here's a photo of us as a knight in shining armor and his princess: http://i.imgur.com/421eh.jpg

Quouar94 karma

That is an AMAZING picture. I must say, llama shows sound like they are much more fun than horse shows. Which was your favourite to do?

littlesoubrette76 karma

They are so much fun. Seriously. My favorite was probably costume class (as you can probably guess), but aside from that I think pack or obstacle were my favorite. PR sometimes just got annoying and frustrating. But I loved pack especially because it simulated being out in the wilderness with your llama. No noisy obstacles, everything just peaceful. Just him and me.

Quouar34 karma

Do you often get to go out into the wilderness with your llama, then? Where does one go with a llama? Do you ride him or just tug him along?

littlesoubrette61 karma

I never went backpacking with him, but his owners (see comment below) did several times. He and I lived in Oregon and his owners would take him into the wilderness in the Cascade mountains. Only kids under 40lbs can ride llamas, but they can carry weight in packs up to 100lbs (it's a balance of weight thing). So you load your llama up with all your gear and walk. :)

Quouar29 karma

Were there ever funny looks from other hikers? I imagine llamas aren't a terribly common sight in Oregon.

littlesoubrette88 karma

Oh yes. They were always like... da fuq is that?

Quouar27 karma

The one thing I've always managed to experience with llamas is them spitting. It doesn't matter what I do - they always seem to think it's appropriate to spit at me. Did Noche spit at people as well?

littlesoubrette175 karma

Ah yes, I was wondering how long before this one came up. So llamas only spit at other llamas. "But a llama spit at me!" you say! You see, you and everyone else who has been spit at has probably been to a petting zoo or something where the llama is constantly being harassed by people and children. Usually the llama will spend its entire life like this. While he is well taken care of, he will lose the ability to tell the different between humans and llamas. Noche and his other llama compadres knew the difference and would never spit at me or anyone else. Spitting is llama language for "leave me alone!". So when you get spit at while petting a llama at a petting zoo, he's saying "Fuck off!". Noche only ever spit at other llamas when there was a fight over food or something. But I cannot tell you how many times I've answered this question. :)

littlesoubrette13 karma

Awesome!

littlesoubrette143 karma

Oh favorite llama story! There are just so many. But probably for me it would be just how close my llama and I were. His name was Noche and he and I were best buddies. I don't know how well you can see it in the photos, but he and I had the same color hair/wool. His personality and mine went perfectly together. I would sing to him down in pasture and he'd run up so excited to see me. He and I were an amazing team and he trusted me more than anyone else. Just having that intense bond made the whole experience worth it. He and I were truly a team, we are both national champions.

Quouar84 karma

The image of someone singing to a llama and it running over is quite an excellent one. I must say, I've never really thought of llamas as being particularly cuddly, but now I'm thinking they're absolutely adorable. :)

Your post is in past tense, though. Did something happen to Noche?

littlesoubrette95 karma

He is super cuddly! The show season stretched from May to November and on the cold fall show mornings I'd bury myself in his neck and hug him for warmth. He was so loving. And at the end of a long show day he and I would lie down together in his stall and just rest together, me leaning on him. They are super cuddly.

Noche is fine, enjoying his retirement. The thing is, I didn't own Noche. I leased him from a very good friend of mine who owned a llama ranch just 3 minutes from my house. I paid (well my mom paid) a fee every month for me to train Noche and show him, and exchange I did chores at the ranch once a week and helped out at shows. I am living in another state now and off at college and I haven't seen Noche since July 2009. I've heard he's doing well and happy and all, but it's been a painfully long time since I've seen him.

Quouar25 karma

Aw, it's sad that you and Noche are separated. Have you considered buying him or your own llamas once you're done with your studies? What's involved with a llama ranch? For that matter, how does one make money with llamas?

littlesoubrette52 karma

Yes, it is terribly upsetting that we're separated. I have thought very hard about buying him someday, but llamas are herd animals so I'd have to buy at least one other as well and find some land, etc. But yes, it has crossed my mind a million times.

So the llama ranch Noche came from had 50+ llamas on it at any given time. This is a BIG ranch. Each llama had an individual food dish and a specific diet. With 3-4 of us working on feeding them/cleaning their living space/refilling water, etc, it would take us about 2 hours to do everything. You can make money with llamas in a variety of ways. First off, if you have really good animals that are healthy and stuff you can simply sell them as pets, pack animals, guard animals, etc. You could also breed llamas for their wool and sell that. This ranch focused on breeding show quality llamas. Then you could sell the breeding stock for thousands of dollars. I was never out to earn money with Noche but at some shows, especially regionals and nationals if you placed well enough you'd get a "premium" with your ribbon. Usually it was a couple dollars, but at nationals I made about $100 off my two top ten finishes.

benrama33 karma

Guard animals? What could/would a llama ferociously protect?

littlesoubrette86 karma

They're herd animals and are very protective over their herd. Mother llamas are known to trample snakes and rodents to death if they're in their field. But guard llamas are usually used to protect sheep/livestock from coyotes, etc. Llamas are not ferocious, but they're very curious. If they see a coyote enter the pasture, they'll come running up to see what it is. By doing this, the coyote gets scared off (image a huge 300lb animal running at you while you're trying to stalk sheep!). Llamas are very protective over their herd, whether it be other llamas or something else. It has been documented that llamas will fight wolves/coyotes that are threatening their herd, but this is rather uncommon.

Quouar12 karma

Why did they all have their own diet? Was it because they were being bred as show quality llamas, or are llamas just that picky?

littlesoubrette31 karma

They all had different dietary needs, just like you and me. (These llamas were really well taken care of.) Some were overweight and needed to lose weight. Some, like Noche, needed to gain weight. Some were pregnant and needed extra. Some were young and needed special food. Some were old and needed special food. There were several groups that had similar food, but there were enough that had to have different diets and portions that we had to dish everyone up individually.

lmYOLOao73 karma

My mother would like to thank you for doing the MS walk. So would your prince charming.

littlesoubrette42 karma

Haha thanks. My llama's owner/4-H club leader has MS so we did the walk/fundraiser every year. :)

SlyLlama57 karma

Hey also a former llama showperson here! Did it from 2004 - 2008 and then one show last year over here in the northeast region. No questions but glad to see another llama shower on Reddit!

littlesoubrette23 karma

Awesome!

Moncole53 karma

Do you like to watch The Emporers New Groove?

littlesoubrette61 karma

YES!

Shaggy_Xx49 karma

Is your name Carl Weezer?

littlesoubrette28 karma

Nope. I'm also a girl.

BCRob37 karma

What sound does a llama make? Please answer this.... No one ever knows.

littlesoubrette70 karma

They make several! First, the most common is a hum. It sounds like... kind of a moany hum. It's what they make when they're curious/stressed/talking to their young. It's a quiet sound. The others are louder. They have this thing called an alarm call, and it sounds like a cross between a turkey and a car alarm. They do it to warn the herd of danger. Another common sound is called a cluck, and it sounds just like a cluck of a chicken or something, except louder. It's the llama saying that he's curious but wary. And last but not least is the orgle. This is the sound male llamas make when they're horny/mating. It sounds like a mix between... well... I'm not sure. Just look it up. :)

Rhana32 karma

I can see it now, OP is at a bar, sees someone they are diggin "hey, I bet you've never slept with a championship llama shower"

Icewaved30 karma

Well, she isn't bad looking, that's for sure...

littlesoubrette50 karma

blush

reticulate31 karma

Are you studying something animal-related at college? Will you return to Noche one day and breed him with sexy female llamas and have llama families and dress them up?

Also this AMA is a good antidote for the Armenian Genocide one. I am now cheerful, thanks.

littlesoubrette45 karma

Nope, I'm studying music and psychology. So Noche is castrated (neutered) because he developed some unsavory behavior issues right around Nationals. Most male show llamas not used for breeding stock are "fixed".

krcarriere17 karma

Can you explain what kind of unsavory issues? I'm curious what you mean..

littlesoubrette74 karma

Horny 24/7.

Kilgore_the_First30 karma

How does one get involved in competitive llama showing? How seriously did you take it when you first started doing it? No disrespect, but it does seem like an unusual hobby.

littlesoubrette35 karma

It's a crazy unusual hobby! I first got started because my best friend in middle school owned a llama ranch. She and her family ran my county's llama 4-H club. The club was rather small (as you can imagine) but after she couldn't get me to leave her ranch and insisted on helping out and being with the llamas all the time, she and her family struck up a deal with me. I could lease one of their llamas for a modest fee and help doing chores and I could train and show him all I wanted. I joined the club and did the usual 4-H club stuff and then I got involved in the big show circuit in the PNW. At first I didn't take it too seriously, but when I realized that Noche and I were really good, I started becoming more competitive and doing more shows.

Kilgore_the_First18 karma

Seeing as it's probably a pretty small hobby, were you generally competing against the same people over the years?

Also, how long until I can watch this on the Olympics?

littlesoubrette32 karma

In the northwest region, especially in Oregon it was generally the same people. But once you get to the bigger shows, regionals and nationals, they're all strangers.

If this were an olympic sport, I would take Noche out of retirement. :)

Kilgore_the_First22 karma

Damn that was my next question. I appreciate that you'd do that for the glory of the US.

littlesoubrette20 karma

Haha yes of course. Noche would be all confused, but he'd do great. :)

ts8765429 karma

How many different costumes did you and Noche do over the years?

littlesoubrette78 karma

Hi Bear! Let's see, we were an American eagle and Statue of Liberty in 2004. The rest blur together but I've been Hermione and Noche was Harry Potter in an invisibility cloak (a big transparent tarp over his entire body). The knight and princess. One year I bought a GIANT pink dress from Good Will and put him in it and I dressed as a man. I don't remember the rest because I used the knight and princess for many, many years as it won every single time.

StabbityStabbity47 karma

A llama dressed as Harry Potter is the funniest thing I've read today. Kudos on costume originality!

littlesoubrette8 karma

Thanks!

brainles7129 karma

Are llamas friendly by nature?

littlesoubrette54 karma

Yes they are. Most are gentle and curious. It's only ones that have been mistreated that will spit, etc.

herrjoe24 karma

Would you rather fifty duck sized llamas, or one llama sized duck?

littlesoubrette30 karma

I wondered when this would come up.

UnknowingWall8119 karma

Has anybody ever shown you this?

littlesoubrette12 karma

NO! WHAT IS THIS MAGIC!!!

watch_your_language19 karma

Are llamas expensive to keep? What was your best memory with your llama?

littlesoubrette44 karma

Nope! Per month they cost as much as a large dog. They're very inexpensive compared to most other livestock. My favorite memory was probably winning regionals. I mean, I literally just swept the competition and it was on Noche's birthday too. It was so amazing. I was the best for my age group in the entire PNW.

Nikolieolieoh18 karma

I've been showing dogs since I was 12 (I'm 23 now) and if there's anything I've learned it's that dog showing is ADDICTING. I imagine it's the same with llamas. You say you're retired now, but do you miss it? Are you planning on picking it up again at some point? I did junior showmanship for dog shows until I was 18 and then stopped in college to focus on school. I just graduated in May and am now over the moon to be getting back into it! I've got a show tomorrow. Wish me luck! :3

littlesoubrette16 karma

Yes, it is addicting! :) I loved it. I would love to do it again someday.

thePOOPiseverywhere16 karma

that's a pretty badass looking llama.

littlesoubrette44 karma

I know. He's pretty much a baller.

ky78915 karma

I used to show alpacas.
I know alpaca people and llama people are supposed to be mortal enemies, but I still think your llamas are adorable (:

littlesoubrette17 karma

I don't think we should be mortal enemies!

1213takenusername15 karma

Do you have a llama named Tina?

littlesoubrette15 karma

Nope.

SaintJesus15 karma

This is... I'm so happy. What did the other students at school think? Your teachers? Did you have any other hobbies (music, theatre, et cetera)? Did you ever get to show one at school?

littlesoubrette20 karma

Other students at school made fun of me. I was "llama girl". My teachers thought it was cool, but would get annoyed when I'd miss class for a show. During high school I was heavily involved in music and a little into theater. As school I stuck to choir, etc. But outside of school it was llamas and choir.

rainsocks13 karma

Have you ever been bit by your llama/any llama? If so, how many times? Did it hurt? I imagine they have a pretty strong bite.

Showing llamas seems awesome though! I wish I had been able to do something like this.

littlesoubrette24 karma

Fun fact, they don't have teeth on the top of their mouth in the front. Only their molars. The teeth you see in the photos of llamas are their bottom teeth. They don't bite, but if they did it wouldn't hurt.

total_carnations13 karma

OP--just wanted to say (in the uncreepiest way possible) that you are quite pretty. Keep up the good work with your llamas.

P.S. I am half peruvian and have visited many times, and have therefore been exposed to baby llamas. They are (if I may say on reddit) just as cute as kittens

littlesoubrette15 karma

Thank you! As a cat owner here, I can say that baby llamas (crias) are just as cute as cats!

StopYouAnimal12 karma

How much space does one need for a llama?

Did you keep it at your residence or at a llama farm (whatever that is).

littlesoubrette29 karma

One llama needs about half an acre. They are herd animals though so you need at least two, so realistically you need one to two acres for happy llamas.

I leased my llama from a family who owned a llama ranch with 50+ llamas. So he lived in a huge pasture with a bunch of other llamas. He had grass, forest, rocky hills, etc. He loved it.

Kayelar65010 karma

Was your llama ever sheared, and did you get to do anything with the fleece? If so, what did you make?

littlesoubrette18 karma

Oh yes. Every summer we sheared them to keep them cool and to harvest their fleece. I didn't personally do anything with the fleece, but his owners kept it and sold it/sent it off to be spun.

To_the_Beemobile9 karma

This is by far my favourite AMA ever. Also, now I want a llama.

littlesoubrette2 karma

Yay!

aidenkelaher8 karma

are llamas a smart animal? do they understand commands?

littlesoubrette15 karma

They have an intelligence similar to a dog. They understand commands, both physical and verbal, just like a dog.

lolwut738 karma

[deleted]

littlesoubrette29 karma

Noche LOVED fresh, tender black berry leaves. Like the ones that are green and small before the thorns are sharp. He went bonkers for those.

racehorsee8 karma

[deleted]

littlesoubrette21 karma

Well, you have to pay to have the llama, right. Then there's the cost to transport them to the show (truck, trailer, diesel, etc.). And most shows had an entry fee ($10-$25) per class. The show atmosphere is very warm. Everyone I met was super nice and just wanted to see the young people like me succeed. No one is ever rude and no one is ever overly competitive. It's like a big old family. At least in my show circuit it was.

start-a-fresh7 karma

What was it like to live the thug life?

littlesoubrette10 karma

Pretty badass.

BazouzaBazouzi6 karma

How does it feel to have the coolest job ever?

littlesoubrette14 karma

To be honest, I haven't done it in years and I sometimes forget about it until my boyfriend tells someone and brags for me. Haha. At the time I didn't think anything of it, but now I am really proud of what I accomplished.

blahdre6 karma

What does llama spit smell like?

littlesoubrette20 karma

Like stomach bile. Oh god.

wischichichichia5 karma

Fill in the blank: if life gives you llamas, make ________________

littlesoubrette14 karma

Elaborate costumes.

mannermule4 karma

Did you have any llamas that were real drama queens?

littlesoubrette7 karma

Breeding females. Yes.