Amazing Greys would like to thank the following participants, without whose insight, knowledge, and generosity, this event could never have become a reality:
Starting with just two male “pet” alpaca, Steve & Casey Aitchison were immediately enamored with them – their kind nature, funny personalities, soft fleece, etc. So they added a few more…then a few more…and well, perhaps they got a bit carried away! Now 4 years later, their ranch has the largest alpaca herd in California with around 250 huacaya alpacas – and they continue to immerse and invest themselves more and more each day in the alpaca industry.
With a focus on breeding for elite grey fleeces, they have brought in top genetics from all over the nation with the constant thought toward “building a better alpaca.” They’ve learned from other breeders successes and failures, building on the shoulders of those who labored at this for decades before, and hope to continue getting alpacas and their amazing fiber recognized and appreciated by the world.
As founders and hosts of this event, their hope is to bring the beautiful grey alpaca the attention and respect it deserves as it joins “elite” status with other colors in the alpaca spectrum.
Our journey in alpacas started in 1998 when we saw our first alpacas at a friend’s house. Looking for something to do as a family, alpacas seemed like an interesting venture. This idea quickly took on a life of its own! Within a year we had moved from suburbia and were “full tilt farmers” retrofitting a horse barn, and discovering first hand that there is no such thing as a one-man auger. We started with 5 alpacas, and planned on building the herd to 20…. right….
Now on our second farm, and still a family run business, A Paca Fun Farm is the home of 140+ huacayas. Since early on, our breeding program has been focused on producing dark fleece of exquisite quality. In particular, we have concentrated our efforts on producing black and gray fleece of “textile grade” uniformity and fineness.
Developing the grays and blacks that existed over a decade ago into the cutting edge herd we have today has been a challenge, but a rewarding one. We are now proud to internationally offer alpacas with elite gray and black genetics that have been 16 years in the making.
We have enjoyed all the different aspects of the alpaca industry for the last 17 years, and look forward to being active participants for many years to come!
Crescent Moon Ranch began with a vision which included family and the prospect of a simpler existence! That dream realized life on a beautiful farm property with lush green pastures and majestic creatures roaming around in them. In 1996 weary from a 35 year career in restaurants, Joe and Diane Nelson, and Jerry Dunne (Diane’s brother and my parents and uncle) purchased their first alpacas; thirty four pregnant females to be precise. Their retirement property chosen for this “nutty” endeavor was on San Juan Island in Washington State. They spent the next four years fencing, and digging drainage ditches, building ponds/reservoirs, putting up barns and houses and building roads to connect them all. In April of 2000, everything changed!
With the decision to either get serious about their project or “go home” the decision was made to purchase an alpaca at public auction. This singular action had far reaching repercussions which could never have been predicted. The alpaca purchased was 4Peruvian Legacy 6016. The reason for his purchase was simple; herd improvement. What was not considered would be the marketing boost derived from that purchase and the impact it would have on us and an entire industry. Suddenly alpaca breeders from around the world knew of Crescent Moon Ranch. The reason for the hype was that Legacy was purchased for what was then easily a world record setting price of $165,000. No other alpaca had ever come close. Simultaneously, the purchased launched the glory days of the alpaca industry. From that point forward alpacas began selling for valuations which were inconceivable. Legacy’s record selling sale price lasted only 6 months as the next great stud was sold at that time for $225,000. However, half interest in Legacy would be sold a couple of times over the next several years, culminating with his half interest sale in 2005 to Virginia Alpacas and Breeding Co. for $750,000. A record which still stands today. For all of his notoriety, Legacy lived up to the hype. The Crescent Moon herd was deeply improved by his presence here on many levels.
Another significant happening from 2000-2002 was the arrival of Scott and Debbie Miller. With a little more youth (at the time) and a little more energy we were able to promote the brand of Crescent Moon Ranch around the country attending shows in all four corners across this great land for all these years and to the present. To aid in our knowledge, Debbie and I attended the International Alpaca Judging School in Peru in 2001. This month long experience provided the cornerstone of understanding which we would build on to the present day.
Because of these three important acknowledgements we decided to move closer to other alpaca operations and make ourselves a little more accessible to the alpaca world. It was purely a business decision as we loved our home on the island. In 2002 we moved to Central Oregon and began setting up the second Crescent Moon Ranch operation. In 2014, with the retirement of my parents and my uncle (they were all nearly 80 now) Debbie and I moved to our third and current and final ranch location.
Although we have always taken great pride and effort in our breeding program we also have always believed strongly in the alpaca and its end products. That said we have always (at all three locations) kept a fully operating alpaca store. That continues today and actually that store is the focus of much of our efforts as we are open 7 days a week and 364 days per year.
To say that we love what we do would be an understatement. By our own personal lifetime journey, we know of less satisfying endeavors and are so grateful for our comprehensive alpaca journey over these last two decades.
We thank Casey and Steve for the opportunity to spend time with you here. We also invite you to participate with us and come to Oregon and “Walk on the Moon”!
From a meager farmer’s dream of fulfilling a passion of working with animals, Keith and Nancy Chapel of Alpaca Country Estates purchased six loveable Huacaya alpacas in November, 2006, into present time having built a strong breeding program of over 700 alpacas emphasizing uniformity, fineness with a soft handle, brightness, and density with the main thrust working with black and grey genetics.
Through a ranching background with cattle and horses, Nancy soon found herself a few years ago wanting to create top lines and add fawns to the list, and sure enough, when some drop dead whites were born in 2014, she began to breed for a small amount of whites also. In 2016, they have been rewarded with color champions or reserve championships in black, grey, brown, and white. They will continue to strive to improve their high set of goals and standards within the alpaca community.
One of Alpaca Country Estates/ Patagonia Estates strongest assets is owning high quality herdsires as well as quality dams. With over thirty current herdsires, hours and hours are spent on which animal is the ultimate choice to breed to whom, and there is nothing better than the thrill to reap the benefits when you see the results of your labor of love by viewing that newly born cria!
Art Izer and Nancy were married in 2016 after both losing their loved ones in 2007. With Art’s knowledge of cattle and horses, he is an easy study with alpacas and the pair would love for you to visit their picturesque ranch in Terrebonne, Oregon where they produce their own hay, strive for a green planet, design alpaca clothing , and have top-line alpacas of every color!
It all started when Deb Galway and Kirk Howard purchased their first sheep to keep the grass down. And not wanting to deal with fleece, they were hair sheep at that! Then, the kids grew old enough to raise livestock in 4-H and wanted to raise goats, pigs, two horses, a steer… and more… hence the ranch name. As they entered high school, with Deb looking forward to retirement, she was looking for something more sustainable, easier on the land/environment, and easier to manage. Earlier at a local event, chaperoning a group of 4-H kids, she discovered a booth with alpacas and the seed was planted.
In 2008, looking for a hedge against the looming financial crash, Deb purchased their first alpacas. They started with five alpacas in various colors, delighting in the variety available. Amazingly, Deb thought grey was an undesireable color and had to be seriously talked into including one in the purchase! Silly woman…
Fast forward to 2017 and the modest herd currently numbers 37 mostly grey and black alpacas. Focusing on breeding for improved fineness, uniformity and density, while maintaining solid conformation, fleece length and easy-going nature, they’ve acquired a number of excellent grey and black herdsires and dams (including several banner winners) out of well known blood lines. Adding in outside breedings to stellar herdsires, they’ve produced many gorgeous grey and black cria. Look for them in the show ring soon!
Most recently, they’ve acquired a half interest in 17 x Champion RR Gun’s Kit Carson who’s cria routinely sweep their classes at shows. This macho is sure to take their grey program to the next level. He’s available for breedings in California from November to April.
Deb and Kirk are seriously invested in the alpaca lifestyle and the promotion of all things alpaca. They’ve “come to love the range and depth of color vibrancy they present and their easygoing nature”! Each year, at shearing they harvest as much usable fiber as they can and sort it for it’s appropriate end use. The best blankets are set aside for hand spinners, but the rest is processed into roving, and yarn for sale in their farm store and at various fiber shows. In keeping with their heavy involvement as 4-H Project volunteers/Leaders, Deb and Kirk have become involved as volunteers at local alpaca shows, with Deb also serving as a CALPACA Board Member.