Alpaca ranchers show off breeding at National Western Stock Show | TheFencePost.com

Alpaca ranchers show off breeding at National Western Stock Show

For the Milligan family, Jan. 6 was a busy day at the National Western Stock Show. Marc and Sharon Mulligan, along with members of their family were promoting their alpacas and Red Granite Ranch.

Marc and Sharon started the ranch in 2009 and now have about 450 head, and focus on fleece, along with some breeding. Neither side of the couple had a track record with alpacas, and really came to their business on their own.

"We just really liked (alpacas) and just stared educating ourselves," Sharon said.

The couple already had the property in Livermore, Colo., but they were looking for the right animal to breed. Buffalo was the first thought, but eventually they decided alpacas would be a better fit for them.

They have 11 grandkids who help when they can, including Cadence Rarden, 11, who helped show some of the family's alpacas at National Western.

Cadence said she's helped show the alpacas for about three or four years.

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"I love it," she said. "It's just really fun showing the alpacas," she said.

The family has done well in recent years showing, including earning a supreme grand champion at the 2017 National Alpaca Show, which was in Denver.

As it was with the Milligans, Melanie Catangay didn't get into alpaca farming because it was the family business.

National Western was only Catangay's second show with alpacas. She founded Suridipity Ranch in Elizabeth, Colo., in May 2017.

"Our goal is to be recognized as one of the top breeders," she said after winning grand champion of the Suri dark breed.

Catangay is a nurse, and said this first year was "fun and challenging," and also "really rewarding." ❖