Sporty Long Meg at the Newbury Show
Hello Sports Fans,
I’m not interested in so-called ‘News’ – Carnac and Stonehenge winning second and third in the gelding competition, Maes Howe awarded third in the prettiest female competition etc etc. BIG YAWN. Been there, done that, blah, blah, blah.
No, Sports Fans, it’s the Sunday Funday classes you really want to know all about.
Now, the races are all run on a handicap basis. So, the smartest, fittest llamas run with the oldest, most decrepit 2-leg specimens our people can drag out of the audience. This is meant to act as an equalizer to make the races closer and more exciting.
I was paired with a man I will call ‘John’ but who insisted on calling himself Usain. The first big race of the day was the Llama Agility Race. This is very good fun and sports fans like it because they can see all the skills the llama has that she needs to apply when out on a llama trek. She needs to be able to move at a good pace, around obstacles, and through chicanes, whilst all the time the crowd go frantic.
The race is run against the clock, and early on there were some very fast times. But the hazards are not easy and many llamas knocked over a jump or two or refused to put their feet on the noisy, crinkly, bright blue tarpaulin on the ground, and they had time faults added to their times. Maes Howe got tired during her gentle stroll around the ring and actually thought about sitting down near the end, but the fans encouraged Pretty in Pink Maesie and she continued to the end.
Eighteen llamas had already competed when I was about to set off. I called to John who was having a nap in the corner and he came over and held my rope so he wouldn’t get lost.
Three, Two, One, Go! I hared off over the start line, had a side-ways glance at the matting, but trotted over it, through the chicane, and then the tricky weaving section. I realised I was leaving John behind so I pulled in for a while so he could catch his breath, and then we were off again.
One jump – no problem. The tight section with the fiendish rustling bags at the end. A final jump which I sailed over and rushing through the finishing line with my handler somewhere in the distance.
There was a nervous wait as the final five competitors took the race. Some fast times with time-faults and some slower times with no faults, and that meant I had won! Hurrah for me! John had to go and rest for a bit, but we woke him up and he was ready for the prize-giving. I won a lovely shield that will have my name inscribed on it. I do like a good race.
Next it was time for the last competition of the weekend. This is the fiendishly difficult Llama Egg and Spoon Race. As Sports Fans, you will know this is a race held every year. My daughter Hazelton was the 2017 winner.
What you have to do is run pell-mell up the course, turn, then back to the finish line. All the while the two-leg runs along holding the llama rope (so he doesn’t get left behind) and he holds a spoon on which he balances an egg. All six legs have to cross the line.
There were heats and then the final. In my first heat I was competing against some of the faster llamas but they all had mishaps on the way and I made it the finish line in first place which meant I would be in the final with five others.
We were straight into the final and John no longer seemed to be chewing gum. I don’t know where he put it. Three, Two, One, Go! And we were off. I set a steady pace so John could keep up but the llamas from Staffordshire and Somerset were doing rather well. I glanced over and did a double take, for wasn’t that an alpaca from Hampshire in the race? What’s he doing here I thought? No matter, as Staffordshire crashed into Hampshire and Somerset ‘accidentally’ kicked the fallen egg away. I was in the lead all of a sudden and with renewed vigour and gentle calls to John who was looking quite lost at this point, we reached the front. Then the turn for home and the long run to the finish. Another competitor hove into view and we raced neck and neck to the finish and I won by a nose (I have a very fine llama nose). Hurrah for me again!
I had a jolly good pat on the neck and a lovely red rosette was my prize. A word to the Two-Legs: prizes would be so much more interesting if they were a bit more carroty…..
This was only my second appearance in a Newbury Final and what with the bigger crowd this year and all the interest in our sport I hope to be able to compete again soon. The crowds were great. They cheered and applauded and really encouraged us. All great fun.
More news from Golden Valley Llamas soon