Chris and I are probably the only people who go to Las Vegas and don’t spend a lot of time in Vegas itself. We had a rental car so we took off a couple of days before the trade show started to go see some sights and take in some of the local offerings. We didn’t really have much of a plan other than to go see Hoover Dam (another post for later) and then we just kind of did what we do best—had an unscripted day.
When I found that there was an alpaca ranch close to where we were driving I turned my pleading eyes to Chris and he succumbed. I don’t think it took too much for him to make the choice because after all he is an animal lover as well.We found Alpacas of the Southwest owned by Ron and Anna Nyberg located at 1108 McCarrel Road outside of Kingman, Arizona. The directions are easy to follow to find the ranch and signs help to point the way. Once you reach the ranch you have to use the call box to have either Anna or Ron come to open the gate to let you in. Once you drive in (admission is a mere $6 a car) you drive around and park next to the barn passing beautiful dogs along the way.
And then you see them. The alpacas. They are beautiful and the Nybergs currently have 39 alpacas in residence along with 5 dogs and a couple of adorable pot belly pigs. It is an animal lovers paradise.
Ron took a lot of time with us and gave us the chance to learn a lot about alpacas and how they got into raising them. Ron is a soft spoken gentle man who obviously loves his animals and loves to have others learn about the qualities of this amazing animal. Anna was on the phone most of the time when we were there but she greeted us warmly when she opened the gate to let us in.
So what did I learn during my visit to Alpacas of the Southwest? First of all each alpaca has a distinct personality and they are very smart. Ted, the alpaca who I spent the most time with, is very personable. He is housebroken and loves to watch the Weather Channel on television. I got to give Ted some pellets (treats to them) and take him for a little walk . He was friendly and loving even though it might have been a little bit about the treats I was giving him.
Belle was another favorite of mine—she is an albino and was so sweet . She even let me take a selfie with her to add to my collection of animal selfies.Ron and Anna got interested in alpacas and spent about 2 years going to seminars and learning all about alpacas and their fiber before they launched their farm. They shear 50 + alpacas yearly because some of their alpacas that they have sold come home for reunions. They get about 279 pounds of fiber per year off their animals and since it is so labor intensive to turn the fiber into yarn they connect with other places to do that for them but there is a whole network that they are plugged into that can help them with this part of the process.
Another member of the Alpacas of the Southwest family is Charlotte the pig. Did you know pigs help keep snakes away? They root around and leave their scent and as a result the snakes are leery of coming into the area. So a couple of pot bellied pigs are good for the ranch.They have a gift shop where they have beautiful products. Chris and I both chose a pair of socks that were actually made with fibers from some of their alpacas and now Chris is planning on buying more because they make his feet so happy. The fibers from Alpacas are soft, durable and wick away moisture so they are the perfect fiber to use in sock making. You can check out their online store here.
Of course I did not take nearly as many pictures as I should have because I was playing with the alpacas. Chris took a bit of a video but the quality is a little shaky for some reason but it was fun to take Ted for a walk and love on him a bit
Thank you to Ron and Anna for allowing the public to come interact with some animals that have to be the sweetest things around. I loved my time at Alpacas of the Southwest and will definitely return if we find ourselves in the area again.