Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Touched A Llama

Me and Cricket

There was a Hari Krishna temple near where I lived in Utah, of all places. Every month they had a celebration at their gorgeous temple (including the Color Fest). The first event I went to was the Llama Festival.

My friend Whitney and I made more Jimmy Neutron jokes than my poor husband could stand. For the twenty minute drive, we kept saying “Yay, we get to touch a llama!” Finally Andrew cried, “What on earth is your fascination with llamas?!” We didn’t realize he hadn’t seen the movie and he thought we had some weird obsession.

We got henna painted, ate vegan food, and watched people showcase their llamas to a panel of judges. We went to the pens and started petting the animals, careful not to get spat on. Their spit is made of stomach acid, and it’s green and it burns. One girl got it in her hair and it was really funny.

As I pet a large black one, an usher thrust a rope into my hand and said, “Hurry! It’s his turn to be judged!”

I looked around for the llama’s owner. He was nowhere to be found and the woman was glaring impatiently. I figured it would be easy and I’m always up for adventures, so I took the rope and guided him to the judges.

His nametag said “Cricket.” That’s a stupid name for a llama.

We got second place. Woot woot! I still have my ribbon. I was about to put him back when the announcer said through the microphone, “And now it’s time for the obstacle course!”

Say what?

The first contestant guided his llama over a bridge, through a path of tires, into a mini van, and through various other challenges. I decided to go for it because Cricket was a good llama, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Besides, we had developed an attachment by this point and I didn’t want to let him down.

We were last in line to go. Right before my turn, Cricket went crazy. He kicked his legs, huffed, and ran circles around me. Apparently, some genius had brought in the female llamas to compete when the males were done.

He calmed down for the obstacle course and we did pretty well, except when I banged his head on the roof of the minivan. Oops.

We got third place. That was a proud moment.

When we were done, I put Cricket back in his pen with his ribbon attached to his harness. The owner probably came back and said, "Who on earth is winning awards with my llama?"


  1. That sounds so cool! I was I had been there. Cricket is beautiful.

  2. It seems like they have a new festival every time I turn around...okay, maybe not new, but new to me. I never did get to go the the Color Festival. :(

  3. that was an unexpected adventure, when i started reading i didnt think it would evolve into you actually become a lamma owner temporarily! what happened to the real owner?

  4. Cricket looks lovely! And that looks like so much fun :D Congrats on winning third place. It's too bad you couldn't take Cricket with you haha.

  5. Teralyn, a normally-raised llama will only spit at other llamas, because spitting is a herd language--mostly about hierarchy, who gets to eat first, and of course, mating. A llama that spits at people, even when provoked, has had his brain warped during the imprinting period (the first six months of life) by too many confusing interactions with people. By spitting, he is indicating that he thinks you are a herd member. If it is a male, he may want to mate with you. In the industry, we call these 'berserkers' and they generally have to be put down.

    I'm not saying people don't sometimes get caught in the crossfire between animals spitting at other herd members, but in over thirty years and more than two hundred llamas, I have been spit on so rarely that I can remember each incident.

    But I'm glad that Cricket cooperated for the obstacle course -- it sounds like you had fun!

  6. Oh Teralyn, what a great adventure! I've got to go back to my bucket list now! *dashes off*

  7. time out... you were out there winning awards w/someone ELSE's llama? Did the mysterious owner ever show up? too funny~ :D

  8. Oh that's so cool! I love the pictures!!

  9. Llama obstacle course...


    Marie at the Cheetah

  10. I saw a llama today! Actually, two. But they were two different kinds of llamas.

    Oh, yes. Karl was obsessed with llamas.

  11. Oh, my goodness. You really do like adventures. Couldn't see myself doing all that and with no previous experience.

  12. Llamas are my favorite animals EVER! I'm so jealously jealous. :)

  13. J.L.- I guess I just had a knack for it. I forgot to mention the announcer told everyone to clap for me because I was the smallest contestant with the biggest llama. I gave a bow.

  14. That sounds so fun! Well, except for the part where Cricket went berserk although I would like to see that to see what it was like. It would have been nice to keep the ribbons...and Cricket (too bad you can't). Now I want a llama.

    They should have named him Paul or Carl (high-fives to anyone who gets the Llamas with hats reference)


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