A Clogher Valley man is making history as the first person from the island of Ireland to judge the biggest alpaca show in Europe.

Roger Clarke will stand shoulder to shoulder with three other judges from across the globe – England, the USA and Australia – as together they assess, deliberate and present rosettes and sashes to the best alpacas the UK can offer.

Alpaca owners from across the UK will be ‘alpacaing up’ their trailers as they head to Telford International Centre for the event organised by the British Alpaca Society, which will take place from March 17 to 19.

There will be around 600 alpacas from 90 herds on show. Visitors will be coming from the UK and across Europe.

Alpacas are prized for their fine, soft fleece, which has natural thermodynamic properties and is hypoallergenic.

Alpaca yarn is also used to make fine knitwear and suiting fabric, which has graced the catwalks of many couture designers.

Breeders strive to produce animals with optimal conformation as well as high-quality fleece that is ultra-fine with a natural crimp and lustre.

During the upcoming show, the UK and international judges will be appraising the cream of UK alpacas as owners compete for rosettes across a range of alpaca categories.

Alongside Roger, judges will include Barbara Hetherington, Natasha Clark (Australia) and Amanda Vandenbosch (USA).

In addition to live showing, visitors to the event can enjoy an opportunity to get up close and personal with these fascinating animals, known for their gentle nature and innate curiosity.

The event will also feature the National Fleece show, trade stands, a Fibre Zone and the World of Alpacas, giving attendees the chance to find out everything they need to know about alpacas and their fleeces.

The event is open from 8am until 5pm on Saturday, and 4pm on Sunday.

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