News From Terre Haute, Indiana


August 3, 2013

Vigo’s new 4-H Alpaca Club makes first trip to State Fair

INDIANAPOLIS — EDITOR’S NOTE: Members of the Vigo County 4-H Alpaca Club spent Friday at the Indiana State Fair, where livestock events were among the many activities under way on opening day. This is the club’s first appearance at the State Fair. Writer Susan Hayhurst caught up with the 4-H’ers and their leader at a pre-fair practice earlier in the week.

Discovering alpacas can spit gooey, sticky globs and being told the animals look like unicorns are just a few of the unusual experiences the members of the Vigo County 4-H Alpaca Club and their parents have had since the club formed three years ago.

Don and Jane Connor of northern Vigo County launched the club in 2011 by loaning animals to a handful of 4-H’ers and teaching them the basics of alpaca care.

Today, the club is led by Tracy Wilson, alpaca herd manager for the Sisters of Providence White Violet Farms, which leases the farm’s animals to the youth and their families.

“Sarah Gaughan with the Vigo County Extension office asked the Conners if they knew of anyone to take over the program, and they suggested Sarah ask me,” Wilson said. “This is my second year with the club. We had six kids last year showing alpacas at the county fair, and this year I’ve really seen the 11 kids bond with each other and the animals.”

The 2012-2013 club includes Olivia Branam, Rylee Bull, Harlie Dycus, Morgan Dycus, Eleanor Herndon, Liam Herndon, MacKenzie Jones, Anna Nagy, Sasha Nagy, Ben Steppe and Jia Webb.

Wilson’s purpose for the club is to teach the youth about the animals from care, feeding and grooming to what’s involved in showmanship and animal handling. Club meetings and practices take place at White Violet Farm at St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

“The herd sires and pregnant alpacas at White Violet are not offered to the youth, but we do offer a variety for the kids to choose from. I absolutely see the trust develop between the youth and the animals. Over a year’s time of the youth working with the animals, they really influence each other. There is change in body language, and I try to teach ‘alpaca zen,’” she said with a laugh. “Alpacas respond with calmness. Sometimes, I encourage spirited kids to ratchet it down, so they are calmer with the alpacas.

“I haven’t had kids of my own, so working with them was definitely out of my comfort zone,” Wilson said. “But being involved with this has certainly been worth it. I’m very comfortable teaching others about alpacas, and the interaction is what I enjoy.”

Wilson has been a wonderful influence on the youth as they learn more about this newer type of fair livestock, according to Deb Herndon, the mother of Liam, an eighth-grader at Honey Creek Middle School, and Eleanor, a fifth-grader at Dixie Bee Elementary, both alpaca club members.

“This is Eleanor’s second year showing ‘Providence Elise’ and Liam’s first year showing ‘Providence Wynne.’ Providence means the animals were born here at the farm,” Herndon said, while watching the 4-H’ers work with their alpacas at The Woods. “It’s evident to all of us: Tracy loves working with the kids, and she’s so great at teaching them about the responsibility. She lets us know about special events at the farm, like the animals getting their toenails trimmed, crias, or babies, being born, and the animals getting sheared. She wants the kids to experience lots of different elements of caring for the animals.”

The lease agreements with the farm are affordable, Herndon said, and some of the expenses associated with the alpaca care are subsidized by the farm. “Eleanor has had the same animal for two years and has had some great learning experiences, from mucking, or cleaning, the stalls and barns to feeding and daily animal care. We were proud of her for earning a reserve champion at county fair for handling, and Tracy also has the kids give speeches about the animals, so they are always learning about what they are doing.”

Liam “hung out” with his sister and Elise last year, but decided he had to do it himself for this year’s 4-H program. “I went to lots of Eleanor’s practices and watched her do chores last year, and I thought I was missing out. I’ve definitely gained a lot of knowledge and respect for alpacas,” he said. “I’d encourage other kids to join us because the meetings are packed with info, and you have lots of fun with the animals and everyone at the fair. I’m excited about going to the Indiana State Fair to show Wynne.”

Seven of the 11 youth are showing their alpacas — for the first time — this weekend at the state fair. Wilson said the club members are participating this year in showmanship and the obstacle course. “Our kids will be showing with other showmen from around the state, not just amongst themselves, like at the fair. This will be a bigger challenge, but they’re up for it.”

To prepare for fair events, the 4-H’ers and their endearing animals have diligently worked an obstacle course that includes walking across a low teeter-totter, through a tunnel, stepping into an established square and having to walk within the square backward, and completing a jump.

Anna Nagy, a sophomore at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, has been active with the club since the beginning and is the current club president. “I wanted to be involved with alpacas, but my family didn’t have the land available at home. The lease agreement has been wonderful and I’ve gained lots of leadership skills,” she said. “My alpaca feels like she’s my pet, just like my dog and cat. Seeing things like the vet coming to the farm and seeing a cria being born is something I wouldn’t necessarily see with other pets. This kind of animal may seem intimidating at first, but you’ll fall in love with them.”

Rylee Bull, a sixth-grader at West Vigo Middle School, also discovered the 4-H alpaca project is hands-on, not only between her and “Providence Gratia,” but also through working with alpaca fiber and making project posters. “One of my 4-H projects was a bookmark I had crocheted using alpaca fiber roving, which I dyed and spun into yarn. The bookmark is going to the state fair,” she said. “I’ve also learned alpacas have three eyelids, and I liked giving a five-minute speech on their ears and eyes. I want to do alpacas all the way through 4-H.”

Alpacas are somewhat unusual to most of the public, but seeing them wearing island leis was a treat during the county fair. “We walked in the fair parade with each animal and its youth wearing leis. We hadn’t done it before, but it seemed to be a big hit with everyone,” Wilson said.    

A great club recruitment tool is the spring 4-H event, where various 4-H clubs share booth space and information. Contact the Purdue Extension office at 812-462-3371 or Wilson at 812-535-2934 for more information.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • MET071114  St bens ellis.jpg Annual St. Ben’s community festival kicks off

    The St. Ben's Community Festival kicked off Friday night and continues from 5 p.m. until midnight today.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 071114 DELISH GREENE.jpg Adding to the mix

    The mix of local food choices will get a fresh stir in the near future, as a café opens a second location, a pizza place moves downtown and a national chain sprouts in two more spots.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET071114 guard bennett.jpg Shift from jets to intelligence

    Loud, impressive fighter jets once zoomed regularly across the sky in Terre Haute, their roars drowning out the sounds of televisions and telephones all around the area.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos 2 Stories

  • MET 071114 MANN P.C..jpg Candidates’ views clash over more education testing, vouchers

    Indiana needs to change direction to improve education, said Democrat Jim Mann, who will face incumbent Rep. Robert Heaton, R-Terre Haute, in a rematch race for Indiana House District 46.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET071114bad check.jpg Fraudulent checks with an extra ‘t’

    A Terre Haute woman who received a large check in the mail this week wants to warn others that though the check looks legitimate, it is a scam.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Truck, van collide, stopping some U.S. 41 lanes for an hour

    Northbound traffic on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute was blocked for about one hour Friday because of a two vehicle crash.

    July 11, 2014

  • council mtg 013.JPG Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy

    The Terre Haute City Council took well more than  an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit

    A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET 071014 181 02EXPO.jpg ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo

    Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments

    An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.

    July 10, 2014

  • united way.jpg UW kicks off pilot campaign

    Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071014 181 HILL.jpg Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential

    Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam

    A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.

    July 10, 2014

  • Rain barrels offered for sale

    The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ash.jpg Tips lead to meth lab bust

    Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg VIDEO UPDATE: Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Children Face Deportation Without Attorneys Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Wendy Williams Sees Turning 50 As Fabulous
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010

Real Estate News