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 Suri Network News

Fall 2015


· President's Letter 

· Jim Barker Award

· Symposium Wrap-up

· Fleece Show Results

· Suri Strut

· Kudos Korner

· Symposium Appreciation

Board of Trustees
Patty Hasselbring
Phone: 816-769-3939

Vice President
Jill McElderry-Maxwell
Phone: 207-660-5276

Andrew Reed
Phone: 610-334-5457

Alvina Maynard
Phone: 859-408-5132
2nd Phone: 859-940-0424

Trustee at Large
Randy Coleman
Phone:  503-310-9367

Suri Network Website

SHIP Website
Thank you to all - Symposium Appreciation
The Suri Symposium would not be the success it is without the support of members and others who believe in the value of our breed association, the education provided during the Symposium, and the value of Suri fiber. Special thanks to the following for their support of the 2015 Symposium.

Symposium Sponsors
Members have the opportunity to sponsor aspects of the Symposium each year. 2015 sponsors were:

Purely Platinum: Tinkers's Creek Alpacas, Joyce and Greg White
Purely Gold: Big Timber Alpacas, Sue King
Meal Sponsors:
Experienced Suri Partners
Hasselbring's Harmony Ranch
Colorado Suri Connection
Rock'n D Enterprises
Fleece Show Judge's Choice Sponsor: BuzznHumm Alpacas, LLC, Steve and Laura Hall
Fleece Show Color Champion Sponsor: BuzznHumm Alpacas, LLC, Steve and Laura Hall

Design Student Sponsors

Deb Christner
Jan Heinrich
Leslie Herzog
Tim and Beth Sheets
Scott and Dr. Leslie Rebtoy
Melisa Yopp
Diane Watson
Dawn Browning
Michelle Alexander
Linda Kirkpatrick
Brad and Jandy Sprouse
Lisa Haselhorst

Suri Strut Sponsors
Suri Strut Sponsors help to fund the Suri Strut fashion show.

Deb Christner
Britt and Patty Hasselbring
Jan Heinrich
Leslie Herzog
Tim and Beth Sheets
Scott and Leslie Rebtoy
Dawn Browning
Michelle Alexander
Brad and Jandy Sprouse

Live Auction Item Donors
The Suri Symposium's Live Auction raised over $38,000 this year, which will support the expenses of the Symposium and assist in operation of the Suri Network for the next year. Donors of items for the live auction in 2015 were:

Kim Biscegilla
Mike and Janet Wilkins
Rogue Suri Alpacas
Heritage Farm
Brion and Kristie Smoker
Grandview Suri Alpaca And Shambalah Alpaca Ranch
Halo Ranch Alpacas and Midnight Moon Alpaca Ranch
Rock'n D Enterprises
C & R Suri Studs
Seed Stock Suris
Judy Steele of Polo Field Farm
Suri Network
Donna Rudd
Myndee Jung
Patty Hasselbring
Karl and Jan Heinrich
Sue King

Live Auction Winners
The Suri Symposium's Live Auction raised over $38,000 this year, which will support the expenses of the Symposium and assist in operation of the Suri Network for the next year. These are the live auction item winners:

Britt and Patty Hasselbring
Sue King
Carmela Osborne
Linda Kondris, Carmela Osborne, Kristie Smoker and Gail Campbell
Laurie Findlay
Beverly Brehms
Myndee Jung
Lesley Rebtoy
Greg and Joyce White
Carol and Andrew Reed
Tim and Beth Sheets
Rock'n D Enterprises - Diane Dickerson
Dale Davis

Silent Auction Donors
The Silent Auction generates revenue for the Suri Network Product Development Committee. Items are donated and the Silent Auction runs throughout the Symposium. 2015 Silent Auction items were donated by:

Baker's Alpaca Patch
LadySong Farms - Judith Korff
Donna Rudd
Photos by Marsha
AkunaMatada Suris - Deb Christner
Over Home Alpacas - Carol Reed
Stacy Heydt
Karl and Jan Heinrich
Heritage Farm
Dr. Van Saun
Silver Threads Alpaca Ranch - Jan Rager

Silent Auction Winners
Rebecca Camma
Donna Rudd
Laura Colton
Charlene Piar
Jan Heinrich
Gail Wasserstein
Leslie Rebtoy
Melisa Yopp
Myndee Jung
Dana Tiedeman

President's Letter

The Suri Network did it again with the 2015 Suri Symposium and Fleece Show! Listen to what a few participants said:

"The best thing about the Symposium? Everything!"

"Loved the schedule and educational opportunities."

"Loved 3 full days. Loved the new location in Loveland. Great facility. Best symposium in 5 years!"

It really was a fabulous learning opportunity for alpaca farmers with all levels of experience. 

The Board offers a sincere thank you to all who helped make the Symposium a success - our sponsors, speakers, auction item donors and auction bidders and winners, design competition participants, and Suri Strut designers. 

The Suri Network Board of Trustees election results were announced at the symposium. Alvina Maynard and Andrew Reed are your new board members. A big thank you to outgoing board members Tim Sheets and Joyce White. Tim served on the Board for four years, and as president for the past two years. He has also spearheaded our new website, webinars, and served as the Board liaison for the SHIP program. Joyce served on the Board for two years, and took the lead in planning the 2015 Symposium. Hats off to Tim and Joyce!

The Board has elected officers and has assigned primary areas of responsibility as follows:
  • Patty Hasselbring, President (Membership, Marketing)
  • Jill McElderry-Maxwell, Vice President (PurelySuri)
  • Andrew Reed, Treasurer (Symposium)
  • Alvina Maynard, Secretary (PDC Liaison, Funding)
  • Randy Coleman, Trustee (Communication, Breed Standard Liaison)
This year we will revise the Suri Breed Standard, begin working on a Suri "brand", and  continue with Suri Network Live! webinars as well as SHIP classifications.

We plan to expand committees, and encourage involvement from all members in continuing to make the Suri Network the best breed organization possible. Please contact me or any of the Board members if you would like to get involved!

Patty Hasselbring
President, Suri Network

Norm Evans - 2015 Jim Barker Award Recipient

The Jim Barker Suri Network Ambassador Award recognizes a Suri Network member who exemplifies Jim’s commitment to and enthusiasm toward the Suri alpaca industry and shares the Suri Network’s mission of promoting and preserving the Suri alpaca in North America.
The selection process involves SN members s
ubmitting nominations based on criteria that represented Jim’s commitment and contributions. We received eight nomination letters and after review by the Board of Trustees, this year’s recipient was selected: Dr. Norm Evans.

Dr. Norm Evans’ Dr. Norm Evanscontributions to the Suri Network and the entire alpaca industry are well known to people who have any history with alpacas, and those who are new to alpacas, will benefit from many of the contributions he has made over the years. In 1968, Norm Evans graduated from Auburn University with a Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine degree and joined an established practice in his home town in Kentucky where he predominantly treated large animals. When the importation of alpacas began, Dr Evans had the opportunity to work with several hundred alpacas in Kentucky and in 1986 he established a mobile camelid practice that has served clients in 40 plus states, Canada, Japan, and the UK. Today, Norm is widely well known and respected among alpaca breeders and his willingness to share his extensive knowledge of camelid nutrition and medicine has had a positive impact on the Suri industry.

Perhaps you have seen Dr. Evan’s name as author and editor of the Alpaca Field Manual; considered by many to be the “bible” of alpaca care. You might have heard Norm speak about alpaca nutrition, health care, or neonatal care at one of the many programs he has offered across the country. Maybe you have had the opportunity to hear him explain about skin biopsies and his groundbreaking work in determining fleece density. And, you may have had him conduct skin biopsies and provide his thorough analysis of your alpacas’ fleece characteristics.

Norm’s expertise in camelid nutrition is well known; his nutritional recommendations for alpacas are followed by many feed companies. In his non-assuming and humble manner, Dr. Evans shares his expertise willingly. Norm has always supported the Suri Network and Suri owners and breeders through his involvement at Suri Network Summer Symposiums, his fiber research, and availability to answer questions and provide guidance. Dr. Evans is an unsung hero in many ways. He never hesitates to provide one-on-one veterinary consultation. Who would expect that someone of Norm’s stature would drop everything to drive across the state to do a transfusion, spending hours on a difficult situation and literally saving the life of an alpaca? Norm is truly a constant ambassador for what is positive in our industry. Dr. Norm Evans is a consummate professional in every sense and most deserving of the Jim Barker Suri Network Ambassador Award.

Unfortunately, Norm was unable to be in attendance at the Symposium as he was recovering from surgery. He did send remarks, which President Tim Sheets read during the award ceremony, and we share with you here:

TO:  Suri Network Trustees; Jim Barker Award Selection Committee; Suri Network Members

I am very appreciative and humbled to be selected for the Jim Barker Suri Network Ambassador Award. Unfortunately due to some necessary surgeries, I am not able to attend the 2015 symposium for the first time in many years.

Jim Barker was a longtime client as well as a good friend. I visited Jim and Gini’s Sweetbriar Suri Farm on several occasions and even spent a few nights there. I think I must have looked at the analysis of every batch of hay prior to purchase, as Jim wanted the best for what he felt were the best suris in the country. He was hooked on Suris and was excited that every new offspring was a future champion for the industry.  As I attended many shows I saw that Jim, in his green jacket, was often smiling or chuckling at producing these champions and promoting the suri industry.

The year was 1986 when I started to learn about camelids and since 1996 my veterinary practice has been 100 per cent alpacas. I totally enjoyed the challenge of attempting to restore reproductive fertility in female alpacas. I was even blessed to travel to several states to do so. I believe it was many years ago at this Suri Symposium that mouth overloaded my brain and I said I enjoy traveling around the country trying to get females pregnant. (I meant alpacas of course.)

Large animal work takes a toll on a body and while I can no longer make ranch calls, I stay very busy looking at biopsies and being amazed at how some genetic fleece traits are maintained or lost at different levels due to the alpaca’s nutrition and environment. I hope someday that more breeders will lend an ear to management ideas that can maximize fleece quality as well as production of the magnificent animals.

I still enjoy conversing with two or three vets per day as well as many alpaca owners on their challenging cases. I graduated from veterinary school at Auburn University in 1968 and have worked with camelids for nearly 30 years. I have been involved in my profession, even serving as president elect of the KVMA, yet I have never been honored with an award like this. I am very cognizant of its meaning based on Jim’s mission for the suri industry which makes it even more special. I am usually not an emotional person but the complete surprise when I was notified of this award gave me a great lift at a difficult time.  I know for a fact I would be choked up if I were reading this in front of you now. I appreciate the efforts of all involved and wish for continued success to all suri breeders. I look forward to future service with the suri industry. Thank you again for this most special honor.


Norm Evans

2015 Summer Symposium Wrap-up

The 2015 Summer Symposium featured speakers on a range of topics that included something of interest for everyone. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about topics that included something for everyone, from nationally and internationally known speakers.

Molly Gardner kicked off the conference with a dynamic and engaging presentation on the Rumpelstiltskin Project in New Zealand. Molly shared exciting information that generated a lot of enthusiasm and followed up the next day with break out sessions on breeding for the best results. Clearly, the session was all work and no play!

We learned about the latest in Barberpole from Robert Storey, who followed up with FAMACHA training in a breakout session. With Barberpole worm an issue of concern for everyone, this session provided much needed information. 

Dr. Robert Van Saun presented information in a general session about nutrition. Attendees appreciated the useful information that was backed up with data, as well as the discussion about fodder.

Two breakout sessions by Dr. Andy Merriwether were packed with folks wanting to learn more about genetics and considerations for breeding. "Easy to understand, upbeat"

Dr. Pam Walker taught parasitology - hands-on training designed to equip attendees to do their own fecal testing - and biosecurity.

The Suri Network Product Development Committee offered a series of workshops on fiber arts, marketing your products, and selling your stuff. Hands-on learning combined with expert instruction created a dynamic and fun learning environment.

"Fun, educational, energizing"  Alan Cousil taught us how to do marketing like a guerrilla - with practical tips to develop and keep happy clients.

Cheryl Gehley facilitated breakout sessions on how to use the Suri Herd Improvement Program classification to improve your breeding program.

Dr. Tim Holt returned this year to teach more about acupuncture and massage on alpacas, of course with a magical twist! Following a general session, a breakout session allowed participants to practice acupuncture and laser therapy on live alpacas. People are already putting this to use on their farms!

Suri fiber - always a hot topic - was discussed in depth by Liz Vahlkamp, owner of the North American Suri Company, who presented Building Blocks of the Suri Fiber Industry in the United States.

A panel of three Suri Network member farms presented various business models that they are using. Thanks to Wings and a Prayer Alpacas, Sweet Valley Suris and Alta Vida Alpacas for sharing how they have set up their business models.

Of course, no Symposium is complete without the Auction! Yes, it is a fundraiser for the Suri Network. Yes, it includes amazing herdsire breedings and cool things that people really want! But above all else, it is FUN! Brett Kaysen, our auctioneer, can always be counted on to run an exciting auction guaranteed to loosen everyone up.

The auction this year generated over $28,000, which helped offset costs of the Symposium and will provide some support for the operations of the Suri Network.

Many thanks to our auction donors and to those who bid on the items!

Fleece Show Results

You will notice that Suri owners take a special pride in a ribbon from the Suri Network All-Suri Fleece Show. Why? Because the Suri Network Fleece Show is the largest Suri fleece show in the United States, and perhaps the world! With nearly 200 fleeces entered in the 2015 show, competition was fierce. Our fleece judges were Jude Anderson and Cheryl Gehly, and Wini Labrecque judged Spin-Off, Fiber Arts and Skeins.

Congratulations to the winners, and to everyone who entered this wonderful and highly competitive show!

See all the 2015 fleece awards here.

Suri Strut  

The 2015 Suri Strut showcased fabulous designs by cutting edge designers in North America. On the runway were designs by Beth Brown for Odelia and Odelia Baby,
Holly Henderson & New Era Fiber for Simply Natural Clothing, Liz Vahlkamp for Salt River Mills, Cathy Hinze for Handmade Fashions by Cathy, Sue Simonton and Margaret Long for Little Gidding Yarns, and Lanette Freitag for Felt Loom. The designs demonstrated the beautiful luster and drape of Suri!

  Kudos Korner

Great Lakes Ranch featured on CNBC’s “Blue Collar Millionaires”

If you were at the AOA Nationals alpaca show in Grand Island, Nebraska, in March, you might have been wondering what was going on with the camera crew and all the equipment that appeared to be following Brad and Jandy Sprouse from Great Lakes Ranch around in the Suri ring.  The mystery is solved! It was a production crew for a prime time/business hour TV show that starts airing this summer.

The crew visited Great Lakes Ranch in the middle of winter and filmed for three days, following the Sprouses a week later to Nationals to document what happens at an alpaca show.  They filmed everything from chores being done to animal care, showing the alpacas, halter training and also a visit to Great Lakes fiber store.

The segment aired on July 17, 2015 on CNBC. Kudos to Brad and Jandy for their promotion of the alpaca industry!


Suri Network
Phone: (970) 586-5876
Fax: (970) 591-0007

P.O. Box 1984

Estes Park, Colorado

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Suri Network

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