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Dress for Success

Alpacas already look like some shit out of Dr. Seuss — all bowed legs, long necks, hairy tufts and wet, bulging eyes — but tonight they’re about to look even weirder. Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourself for the Alpaca Costume Contest, a part — most likely the best part — of the National Alpaca Show, making its debut in Denver this weekend.

“The thing about it is, alpacas don’t like people messing with their heads and their legs,” explains Becky Zierer, who runs the costume contest. “They want to be able to see what’s coming and then run away from their predators, so costumes that interfere with their heads or their legs startle them. But the thing is, the more you work with them, the more you can get them comfortable with it, so that’s the big difficulty of this.”

The result: elaborate alpaca garb that often involves pants and hats, since those are the hardest things to make happen. Those efforts will come to fruition in tonight’s contest, where contestants will be judged on their costume, the apparent comfort of the alpaca, and a written short story explaining the costume. For the spectator, “it’s basically just parading the alpacas around with all their stuff on,” admits Zierer — but you know what? That’s more than enough for us.

It happens at 6 p.m. at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt Street; the Alpaca Show continues throughout the weekend. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit
Thu., May 19, 6 p.m., 2011


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