Cornwall to host alpaca competition

CORNWALL — People have been shearing alpacas in South America for centuries — among other things, the famous ponchos of Chile are made from Alpaca fleece.
But now, the popularity of alpacas is growing in the Northern Hemisphere, and companies ranging from Armani to REI are using the hair.
On Thursday this movement north will continue, as more than 20 entrants from around the country will compete for the title of “Best Alpaca Shearer in North America” on the alpaca farm of Carol and Cass Tillman in Cornwall.
The contest will begin at 8 a.m. and judge Kevin O’Leary will decide the winner based on the quality of the shorn blanket, the look of the finished alpaca and the speed of the shearing.
The Tillmans decided to enter the alpaca business as they neared retirement six years ago, and now they have more than 100 alpacas on their Route 125 farm.
But their alpacas are not alone in Vermont — Carol Tillman estimates that there are approximately 50 alpaca farms in the Green Mountain State.
The event Thursday will include shearing classes and distribute more than $2,000 in prize money, but more than anything, Tillman looks forward to being around other alpaca enthusiasts. 
“The alpaca community is the best and warmest community you could imagine,” she said.
The first annual North American Alpaca Shearing Contest will take place on Moonlit Alpacas farm Thursday beginning at 8 a.m. The farm is located at 2170 Route 125 in Cornwall. For more information, call Carol Tillman at 462-3510.
Reporter George Altshuler is at [email protected].

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