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 Suri Network News

Fall 2016



• President's Letter

• Jim Barker Award

• Symposium Wrap-up

• Fleece Show Results

• PDC Update

• Thank Yous

Board of Trustees
Jill McElderry-Maxwell
Phone: 207-660-5276

Vice President
Sue King
Phone: 503-799-6941

Deb Christner
Phone:970 872-4446

Phone:970 250-7392

Kristie Smoker
Phone: 717-503-6168

Trustee at Large
Michael Alpert
Phone:  405-990-8205


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 2016 Symposium.

Symposium Sponsors
Members have the opportunity to sponsor aspects of the Symposium each year. 2016 sponsors were:

Gold Sponsor: 
Long Hollow Suri Alpacas, Karl & Jan Heinrich
Silver Sponsors: 
Big Timber Alpacas, Sue King
Mazuri Exotic Animal Nutrition
Meal Sponsors: 
Hasselbring's Harmony Ranch, Britt & Patty Hasselbring
Thunder Mile Ranch, Charly & Russ Piar
Symposium Bag Sponsor: 
Berry Sweet Suris, Melisa & Terry Yopp
Fleece Show Ribbon Sponsors: Dixieland Alpacas, Patty Toney
Thunder Mile Ranch, Charly & Russ Piar
Bag End Suri Alpacas of Maine, Jill McElderry-Maxwell

Live Auction Item Donors
The Suri Symposium's Live Auction raised over $20,000 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 2016 were:

Judy Steele, Polo Field Studio Arts
Joe Miller, Nebraska Alpaca Company
Jennifer Hack, Triple H Alpaca Ranch
Michelle Alexander, Dakini Alpacas
Randy & Barbara Coleman, Wings and a Prayer Alpaca Ranch
Joyce & Greg White, Tinker's Creek Alpacas
Patty & Britt Hasselbring, Hasselbring's Harmony Ranch
Kay Piar, Whimsical Colorful You
Sue and Kevin King, Big Timber Alpacas
Jill McElderry-Maxwell, Bag End Suri Alpacas of Maine
Hillary Devin, Joyce White & Jennifer Hack, Experienced Suri Partners
Beverly & Jason Brehm, Rogue Suri Alpacas
Michael & Sherry Alpert, Awesome Acres Pacas and Pyrs
Donna Rudd, Master Spinner
Bobby & Diane Dickerson, Rock'n D Enterprises
Mike and Janet Wilkins, Wilkins Livestock

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. 2016 Silent Auction
items were donated by:

Liz Vahlkamp, North American Suri Company
Connie Blechle, Breezy Ridge Alpacas
Heather Hernandez, Joya de Suri
Jill McElderry-Maxwell, Bag End Suri Alpacas of Maine
Beth Keller, Robin's Nest
Tim Sheets, Heritage Farm
Dana Tiedeman, Riverside Suri Alpacas
Deb Christner, Akuna Matada Suri Alpacas
Alvina Maynard, River Hill Ranch
Dr. Norm Evans
Jan Heinrich, New Era Fiber
Ian Watt, Alpaca Consulting Company
Karen Kovisto, Symphony Fibers
Margit Korsak, Over Home Alpacas
Dan & Cari Corley, Alta Vida Alpacas
Ann Mayes, Alpacas d'Auxvasse
Melisa Yopp, Berry Sweet Suris
Bill Buchner, Alpacas of Greater Tennessee
Donna Rudd, Suri Textiles
Evi Dixon, Spanish Peaks Alpacas

Many sincere thanks - and congratulations! - to the winners of all auction items. Your support is greatly appreciated.

President's Letter

Happy Fall, Suri breeders!  It's been a busy summer for the Suri Network, with the highlight being three full days of education and hands-on workshops at the 2016 Suri Symposium.  

Attendees clearly enjoyed and appreciated the wealth of knowledge presented at the "Latest and greatest educational opportunity of the year," to quote one participant. When asked to name the best part of the Symposium, members

"Dedication to suri, opportunity to learn.  Fun.  A coming together of likemindedness."

"Energy/enthusiasm, GREAT presentations/speakers"

"All the neat topics for the breakout sessions.  The ones I went to were very informative and I learned a lot."

The Board would like to extend a sincere thank you to all who helped make the Symposium a success - our sponsors, speakers, auction item donors, auction bidders and winners - and everyone who helped behind the scenes.

The Suri Network Board of Trustees election results were announced at the symposium. Sue King and Kristie Smoker were elected to two year terms, replacing outgoing board members Patty Hasselbring and Randy Coleman, while Deb Christner and Michael Alpert will be serving one year terms replacing Alvina Maynard and Andrew Reed.  We extend our sincere thanks to all our outgoing board members, particularly to Patty Hasselbring for her tireless efforts of behalf of the Network.

The Board has elected officers and has assigned primary areas of responsibility as follows:
  • Jill McElderry-Maxwell, President (Membership, PurelySuri and Network publications)
  • Sue King, Vice President (Membership)
  • Deb Christner, Treasurer (SHIP Liaison)
  • Kristie Smoker, Secretary (PDC Liaison & 2017 Symposium)
  • Michael Alpert, Trustee (Communication)
As 2016 winds down, we hope to wrap up the revision of the Suri Breed Standard and bring the revised standard before the membership for a vote.  Please note that this vote will be done online in an electronic format, which will save the Network a significant amount of funding.  We'll send out more details as the vote approaches.

We have a lot planned for the upcoming year, and we 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!

Jill McElderry-Maxwell
President, Suri Network

Linda Kondris - 2016 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 several nomination letters and after review by the Board of Trustees, this year’s recipient was selected: Linda Kondris.

Linda Kondris, the 2016 Jim Barker Suri Network Ambassador Award winner, has a long history with the Suri Network and the Suri industry. She always has the Suri breeder foremost in her recommendations: her goal is clearly to improve and promote the Suri alpaca.

Linda served on the Suri Network Board from August 2009 to August 2011, and as Board President from August 2011 through August 2013. While President, she worked on the PurelySuri publication to help gather articles and edit the ones submitted. 


Linda led the extensive revamping of the Suri Herd Improvement Program and helped write the new evaluation criteria. This involved being off her farm and out of town for extended periods of time with no compensation. Linda now serves as Co-chair of the breed standard rewrite committee.  

Linda's involvement in improving the SHIP program is one way she has provided extraordinary support to newcomers in the industry. Her background in education in her pre-alpaca life has given her many tools to help new breeders (and old) learn about all aspects of alpaca health, conformation, and fiber.


As one person who nominated Linda says: “When I think of the Suri Network, I think of Linda.  She has been one of the most consistent supporters of the Suri Network at all levels for probably 10 years. In addition, she has served on liaison committees for AOA, always the champion of the Suri alpaca and Suri Network!”

2016 Summer Symposium Wrap-up

The 2016 Summer Symposium featured top speakers on a wide range of topics, as well as engaging, enjoyable hands-on experiences.  

Our speakers included Dr. Andy Merriwether, a genetics expert and audience favorite, who discussed color and coat genetics as well as common genetic defects of alpacas.

Molly Gardner returned to update us on the state of suri fiber in New Zealand, as well as to educate us on the traits all breeders should be striving to achieve in their fleeces.  Her break out sessions were full of laughter and learning!

Karl Heinrich fascinated his audience with the saga of taking fiber from the barn to yarn.

Margit Korsak shared her considerable expertise in photography and marketing.

Dave Scott from ATTRA held his group of listeners spell bound as he described a radically different way to manage pasture rotation and grazing patterns.

Courtesy of Mazuri, Dr. Norm Evans was able to join us for a series of lectures on managing alpaca pregnancy and the neonate, with a lucky group of early registrants joining him in a hands-on neonatal seminar.  He also shared his knowledge of biopsies and histograms with the full Symposium audience.

Jude Anderson joined forces with Dr. Evans during the Symposium to present information on the emerging science and technology of embryo transfer in alpacas.  With the recent decision to allow the registration of ET offspring, this seminar was timely and informative.

Cheryl Gehly spoke both to the general audience and smaller groups about how the Suri Herd Improvement Program was designed, is implemented, and can be used to make breeding decisions to improve any herd.  Participants were amazed at the information available to them through a SHIP evaluation.

Amanda Vandenbosch, one of the Suri Breed Standard Revision committee members, walked the audience at large through the process by which the revisions have been proposed and discussed.  The lengthy question and answer period was greatly appreciated, and left members feeling secure in how the standard is being handled.  Amanda also shared her extensive knowledge in the fleece room with members.

If you went to Elizabeth Taylor's talk on tanning hides, you'll be prepared for the next time tragedy strikes and an animal is lost.  Elizabeth also spoke with authority on marketing alpaca products on-line.

Cari Corley ran a popular and productive session on crafts and activities for farm visitors designed to help every farm increase their agritourism appeal. Participants reportedly had a wonderful time!

As always, the live auction was a fun and profitable endeavor, raising over $15,000 to support the Suri Network's initiatives, including the Symposium. Brett Kaysen, our auctioneer, can always be counted on to bring in the laughs and the high bids!

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

Fleece Show Results

The Suri Network Fleece Show was again the largest Suri fleece show in the United States, and perhaps the world, with nearly 200 fleeces entered. The competition is always outstanding and the fleeces, stunning.  

The 2016 fleece judges were Amanda Vandenbosch and Sharon Loner, while our spin-off judge was Stacy Heydt.  Fiber arts and skeins were judged by Elizabeth Taylor.

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

See all the 2016 fleece awards here.

PDC Update

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” --Walt Disney

This last year the Suri Network Product Development Committee was full of individuals that intelligently navigated the waters of curiosity and creativity. This resulted in a massive project completed, another project moved closer to completion, and also a few fun projects tackled and completed. 

The major work completed was an extensive resource guide developed to move our members' education forward. Please take some time to go to In the Members Only section, you will see a page that includes many resources including the new SN Resource Guide. This guide has invaluable information in it and will continue to be improved. If you have a topic that you would like to include, please email Cari Corley at 

The second project that saw large strides forward was the Suri Branding project. Deb Christner led a group that tackled the idea of creating a Suri brand. This branding project will add validity and consumer awareness to high quality goods using Suri fiber. 

A few fun smaller projects that the SNPDC was central in completing included a new Suri brochure that can be used for marketing your Suri fiber and products. This brochure replaced an older version. The SNPDC also provided our membership with another fabulous Silent Auction at the Suri Symposium and this year the auction was online for members that could not come to the Suri Symposium in person! We are looking forward to the 2016/2017 year!


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

P.O. Box 1984

Estes Park, Colorado

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