Inside the Barns at the Richland County Fair

From Richland Source
By Brittany Schock

MANSFIELD, Ohio – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Richland County Fair. Guests may wander through the barns looking at the cute animals, but few are aware of the hard work put forth by junior fair members weeks and even months in advance.

For 15-year-old Laurasen Combs, her fair project began with the birth of her alpaca – and it was hard work from the very beginning.

“I really like the challenge, so I picked her because she was the hardest one to work with out of the whole herd,” said Combs. “She was the baby no one could catch and was the most ornery.”

Combs’ risk paid off, she won first place in obstacles and second in showmanship with her alpaca. She explained showmanship is judged on how well handler and animal work as a team, but obstacles are all about trust as the animal is led through various structures designed to simulate being out on the trail.

Laurasen Combs at the Richland County Fair

15-year-old Laurasen Combs won first place in obstacles and second place in showmanship with her alpaca at the Richland County Fair on Wednesday. Brittany Schock, Staff Reporter

“I only ran through obstacles with her twice, but we worked on trust a lot,” said Combs. “I sat in the pasture and her on a long lead, and I’d pull her close to me and let her go. That was she doesn’t associate me with work and not having fun, and having to constantly do what she’s not used to.”

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This Must Be A First: Alpacas Blessed In Nation’s Capital

Here’s something you don’t see every day in Washington, D.C.

Standing just a couple of blocks from the U.S. Capitol, a group of Peruvian highlanders, draped in handwoven cloths and ponchos in all the colors of the rainbow, pray to Mother Earth, to the mountains, to the spirit of their ancestors. They offer wine, incense and flowers.
Their wish is that their alpaca “cover the earth like the grains of sand by the ocean.”

Blessing of the Alpacas - Alpaca News

Alpacas, in case you don’t know, are llama-like animals in the camel family. Their wool — called fiber — is prized for its softness and warmth. It’s woven into textiles and garments. So the more alpacas, the better. That’s why Peruvians hold a traditional blessing ceremony, performed since before Columbus discovered the New World and re-created at the national mall last Friday for the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

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Alpaca Meadows