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Gentle llamas inspire llotsa llove



Published: Sat, September 2, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Llamas competed for best-dressed at a Junior Fair contest.

By JEANNE STARMACK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- If you can make a llama wear clothes, you've really accomplished something.

Llamas, after all, don't like to get dressed up, said Larry Lynn of Canfield, who has nine of the furry, gangly creatures.

So to impress the judges, you cover them as much as you can, said Lynn, whose 1-year-old llama Rebel was competing in a costume contest Saturday at the Canfield Fair.

Rebel was paired with 12-year-old Samantha Cadman of Youngstown, a member of the 4-H Lucky Llamas Club. Samantha, a club member for three years, doesn't have a llama of her own, but she'd definitely like one.

She and Rebel were one of several teams who competed in the contest, put on by the Junior Fair. The Mahoning County Llama Club also participated.

Rebel was dressed as a witch. Or maybe, since he's a he, he'd be a warlock, Lynn wondered.

But no matter. He ended up winning first place.

He beat out a llama dressed as a table, complete with plates; one dressed as a figure skater (look out Sasha Cohen -- four skates are better than two); and even one dressed as a shower stall, though not by much. The shower stall, aka Vinny, owned by Shelby Williams, 11, of Lowellville, came in second. Shelby and Samantha won ribbons and llama halters.

Great pets

So what do llamas do when they aren't prancing around the fairgrounds in costumes?

Well, they're busy being great pets, said Brett Neiheisel, 11, of Columbiana. She, her brother Ryan, 13, and mom, Cindy, were at the contest with two of their three llamas -- Cyclone, who was, well, a llama playing the prince who turned into a llama from the movie "The Emperor's New Groove," and Twister, who was dressed as a deer.

They also make great guard animals, Cindy said. They look after the family's goats, chickens and ducks, she said, and they help teach kids responsibility through the 4-H program.

They graze in pastures and eat a pound of llama pellets a day, she said, and they are gentle creatures.

No, they don't spit like camels when they're mad, she said. That's just a myth. Well, sometimes they spit. If someone bothers them, or another llama eyes their cute female llama -- come to think of it, she said, she couldn't guarantee there wouldn't be any spitting.

At the contest, though, the llamas were good sports. They may not have liked being dressed up, but they didn't get spitting mad over it.

starmack@vindy.com




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