October 26th - 28th, 2018

Iowa State Fairgrounds
Des Moines, Iowa

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Nick Harrington-Smith


Married now for 36 years to Terry, Nick has spent his entire life working with and managing farming businesses in the UK. In 1998, he entered into the alpaca industry when appointed as UK Manager for an Australian business owning some 800 alpacas in the UK. Nick found his previous livestock experience invaluable, and was able to introduce sound commercial husbandry techniques into a business that was lacking focus and perspective. In 2005, Nick sold the company for his Australian owners, only to face redundancy! This setback was to provide the opportunity to set up his own business with a new business partner John Potts, and The Alpaca Stud was established which now comprises of some 450 Huacaya and 150 Suri. Nick has selected and imported numerous alpacas from Peru, Canada, Australia and the United States and in doing so has had to select from many thousands of alpacas. In part, these opportunities encouraged Nick to enter the first British Judge training scheme and becoming the first graduate of the scheme in 2003 and he is now a certified judge trainer for the British Alpaca Society. In 2005 Nick qualified as an AOBA judge. He believes it is the discipline and knowledge gained during this training that has led to a much better understanding of fleece and fleece technology. Nick has judged shows across the UK, Europe, Canada, Australia and the USA and considers each show judged a great privilege bestowed upon him by the exhibitors. Nick considers that showing must be educational through informed and accurate oral reasons. He is a very strong believer in the show ring as a promotional vehicle for alpacas, but also has a real awareness of the need to keep in perspective its importance in respect of breeding decisions. Nicks primary objective when judging is to ensure that all exhibitors experience an enjoyable and informative event.

Sharon Loner


Sharon Loner and her husband, Frank, purchased their first alpacas in 1993 and are the owners of Mile High Alpacas located in Parker, Colorado. Sharon soon learned that raising these beautiful animals was her calling and within three years she left her professional career as a property and casualty insurance broker to become an alpaca rancher full time.
Sharon is both AOA and Internationally Certified to judge fleece, halter, and performance alpaca shows. In 2004 she completed her international judging training through the International Alpaca Judging School (IAJS) located in Peru by Maggie Krieger and Dr. Julio Sumar and that same year became AOBA certified. Sharon remains an active member with Alpaca Owners Association, Inc. (AOA); serving previously as Vice President and currently as Secretary of her local affiliate, the Alpaca Breeders of the Rockies, (ABR); and has been a director for the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA).
Sharon graduated from North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, with a Bachelors Degree in Secondary Education and Textiles. Sharon and Frank have two daughters. Carly who has earned her Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in Emergency Medicine from University of Wisconsin is currently working in Rochester, New York. Jaclyn, is in her second year of Physician Assistant (PA) school in Denver, Colorado. Sharon’s husband, Frank, retired in 2012 after 33 years of operating a Chick-Fil-A quick service restaurant in Aurora, Colorado. Frank is now a full time ranch hand, maintenance, and “honey doer”.

In addition to judging, Sharon obtained her real estate license and joined RE/MAX, Inc specializing in farm and ranch properties and downsizing while serving the discerned population of “baby boomers.”

Sharon’s goal while in the show ring is to see that every exhibitor and their alpaca are comfortable, relaxed, while at the same time having an enjoyable experience. She makes sure each and every alpaca is evaluated consistently and fairly on a comparative basis within their individual classes. In the fleece show, she treats each fleece with respect and judges on an absolute basis as specified by the AOA show division rules.