Alpacas make a buzz at Locust Trace

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Bobby Ellis
bobby.ellis@education.ky.gov

At the Locust Trace AgriScience Center in Fayette County, there are two young women doing something that no other students in the state are, farming alpacas. 

Shantel Sturgill and Kylie Power are only sophomores, but they generated quite the buzz at Locust Trace thanks to their two fuzzy friends, Billy Mae and Henry. The two Huacaya alpacas were donated to the students by Alvina Maynard, the owner of River Hill Ranch in Richmond. 

“We wanted to do something different and thought this would be a cool project,” said Sturgill. “A lot of students show goats, sheep and chickens, but we wanted to try to do something that would stand out and be unique.” 

The effort seems to have paid off as the the two students gathered quite the crowd on the day of the shearing, including a gallery of their peers and an article in the local newspaper. 

The two students also toured with their animals to local elementary schools to explain farming and animal care techniques. 

“I think it’s so cool that they went out and did all this work to get the alpacas here,” said Maddie Wiley, a fellow student at the agriscience center. “I think it’s great experience for them.” 

Along with caring for and shearing the alpacas, Power and Sturgill also took the harvested fleece to sell at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival in Lexington.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Power. “But it’s fun and it’s worth the experience.” 

If you want to learn more about the Locust Trace AgriScience Center, you can visit its website here. 

If you’re interested in working with Alvina Maynard, you can visit her website here

Alvina Maynard prepares to help shear the two alpacas at the Locust Trace AgriScience Center (Fayette County). Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Alvina Maynard prepares to help shear the two alpacas at the Locust Trace AgriScience Center (Fayette County).
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Shantell Sturgill, right, holds down her alpaca, Billy Mae, while Alvina Maynard ties him up in preparation to be sheared. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Shantell Sturgill, right, holds down her alpaca, Billy Mae, while Alvina Maynard ties him up in preparation to be sheared.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Alvina Maynard shears Billy Mae with the help of Shantel Sturgill, left, and Kylie Power. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Alvina Maynard shears Billy Mae with the help of Shantel Sturgill, left, and Kylie Power.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Kiley Power carries a blanket of alpaca fiber after it is harvested. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Kiley Power carries a blanket of alpaca fiber after it is harvested.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Alvina Maynard describes how to handle a freshly harvested blanket of alpaca fiber. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Alvina Maynard describes how to handle a freshly harvested blanket of alpaca fiber.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Kiley Power holds down her alpaca, Henri, with the help of Billy Aldridge in preparation to harvest the fiber. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Kiley Power holds down her alpaca, Henry, with the help of Billy Aldridge – director of the Kentucky Alpaca Association – in preparation to harvest the fiber.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Alvina Maynard spreads Henri's wool to show the quality of the fiber before shearing it. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Alvina Maynard spreads Henry’s fleece to show the quality of the fiber before shearing it.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Shantel Sturgill, left, watches as Alvina Maynard, Kylie Power and Billy Aldridge shear Power's alpaca, Henri. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Shantel Sturgill, left, watches as Alvina Maynard, Kylie Power and Billy Aldridge shear Power’s alpaca, Henry.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Kiley Power, left, and Shantel Sturgill with their recently sheared alpacas, Henri and Billy Mae. Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017
Kiley Power, left, and Shantel Sturgill with their recently sheared alpacas, Henry and Billy Mae.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 30, 2017

Shantel Sturgill, center, and Kiley Power speak to a potential customer during the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival
Shantel Sturgill, center, and Kiley Power speak to a potential customer during the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival
Billy Mae and Henry on display at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival. Photo by Bobby Ellis, May 20, 2017
Billy Mae and Henry on display at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, May 20, 2017
Kiley Power, left, and Shantel Sturgill set up their booth and table at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival. Photo by Bobby Ellis, May 20, 2017
Kiley Power, left, and Shantel Sturgill set up their booth and table at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, May 20, 2017

Dyed fleece from Henry the alpaca sits on a display table at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival. Photo by Bobby Ellis, May 20, 2017
Dyed fleece from Henry the alpaca sits on a display table at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, May 20, 2017

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