By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun
When it comes to llama competition, the top two winners kept their placings intact as Cody Carroll of Blooming Grove FFA took senior grand champion with his llama Babycakes, and Cristina Loscuito of Kerens FFA took reserve honors with Candy Man.
Carroll is a veteran llama exhibitor, showing llamas since the Navarro County Youth Expo first added the competition. Loscuito showed llamas for the first time last year, and took grand champion that year.
“At competition in Fort Worth and Houston, I got reserve right under Cody who gets grand,” Loscuito said. “I call us the Navarro County Expo team, because we kind of take the awards everywhere we go.”
Junior Grand Champion was awarded to Payton Carroll of Collins Catholic School 4-H with his animal Ruff, and junior reserve champion was Katie York of Corsicana 4-H, in her first year to show with Troubador.
Bryar Steele of Dawson FFA and Cole Anderson of Kerens FFA both showed llamas in a special needs division, where they tied for first place. Judge Bill Fike of Geronimo returned as llama judge at the NCYE.
Junior competitors are judged on showmanship, obstacle course and public relations (PR). Senior competitors have the same categories with a quiz and verbal essay included.
“They are judged by how well they handle the llama, not the llama itself,” said Kristen Rierson, llama chairman. “They walk the animal around slowly, showing it to the best of their ability, but not blocking the judge’s view of the animal.”
Obstacle courses with hurdles, streamers, ramps, and even an egg carried in a spoon and cracked into a bucket test the youngster’s ability to handle the llama while performing other tasks.
In addition to an acrylic award, banner, and belt buckle, Cody Carroll also won a $500 scholarship sponsored by Pat and Eddie Blank and Jean Sanders.
Also competing in the llama competition were Gracie Ayers of Mildred 4-H with Venus; Elana Chu of Mildred 4-H with Pizzaz; and Jamie Williams of Rice 4-H with Raggedy Andy.
Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore. She may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.