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Snowy Range Alpacas Offers One-of-a-Kind Fun for All

Alpaca Navajo gets dressed up for the New Year at Snowy Range Alpacas

Going places in 2019? Alpaca my bags.

(ROCKWALL, TX — Dec. 26, 2018) If you want a unique experience in 2019, head down to the Snowy Range Alpacas farm located right here in Rockwall! This small farm boasts a beautiful herd of alpacas hand selected and bred for their attractive colors, quality fleece and remarkable lineage.

Alpaca owner Kathryn Klepak first started raising and breeding alpacas as a hobby on her family farm in Laramie, Wyoming. The farm was nestled between the Laramie Range mountains and the Snowy Range mountains, where the farm gets its name. A twist of fate brought Klepak back to her home state of Texas. She moved back to the Rockwall community to take care of her ailing mother. There, she turned her hobby into the fully operational Snowy Range Alpacas farm specializing in alpaca breeding, fleece production and sales.

“Having the opportunity to provide a farm like this in Rockwall has been so much fun,” Klepak said. “We’ve had people of all ages, from little ones to adults, tell us that coming out to the alpaca farm for a day was one of the best experiences they’ve ever had.”

Blue Ribbon News recently took a tour of the farm and spent time with Klepak’s pack of fun-loving alpacas. Here’s what we learned from the experience.

The Pack at Snowy Range Alpacas

According to Klepak, alpacas hail from South America and are social animals; They tend to stick with each other in packs rather than going off on their own. The herd of alpacas at Snowy Range consists of both female and male Huacaya Alpacas. They range in an assortment of colors from white, brown, and the highly-attractive rose grey.

Klepak said alpacas make for great pets because not only are they super cute, they are easy on the land. They nibble at the grass instead of pulling it up by the roots whenever they feed. Interestingly enough, alpacas only have bottom teeth.  Klepak said they trim the teeth once a year with a device called a Tooth-a-Matic. The tool bears a close resemblance to a sander or Dremel tool. The process is much like trimming a fingernail. It doesn’t harm the alpacas because they have nerve endings at the base of each tooth instead of throughout the whole tooth.

Alpacas tend to thrive in regions with cooler temperatures. Klepak said raising them in the Texas heat has been quite a challenge.

“We have to water them down twice daily – in the morning and at night – during the summer,” she said. “We’ll have fans blowing, misters, little inflatable swimming pools, everything we can possibly provide to try and keep them cool. It’s a tremendous challenge.”

The alpacas also have their own ways of keeping themselves cool. They’ll use the nails on their feet to dig down into the dirt, and then roll around or lay in the refreshingly cool dirt they unearthed.

“We continue to marvel at how adaptable these animals really are and how well they have adapted to both the summer and winter months in Texas,” Klepak said.

Award-Winning Wool

Courtesy photo.

Alpacas don’t just make for easy-going, adaptable pets; they sport one of the softest coats of wool you’ve ever felt. Earlier this year, Klepak submitted the fleece of four of her alpacas for the annual Estes Park Wool Market competition in Colorado. The alpacas’ fleece won first and second place in their division, along with Grand Champion and Overall Reserve Champion.

“That’s a very competitive wool market because a lot of people in that area raise alpacas, so that was a fantastic win for us,” Klepak said.

Alpacas are often raised for the super soft fleece covering their bodies. The fleece is often used to make items such as scarves, sweaters, mittens, and bedding. At Snowy Range, you’ll find an assortment of beautiful scarves handmade by Klepak herself from the very same wool found on her pack of alpacas. Each year at the end of March, a team from Ohio comes out to the farm to shave off the wool from the alpacas in a process known as shearing. Klepak then takes the wool and turns out some gorgeous items such as scarves and throw blankets available for sale at the farm’s barn shop.

“From beginning to end, it’s wonderful to see the process, to have an alpaca born on the farm and the next thing you know, you have a beautiful scarf from it. People can see the sustainability of the animal from this process,” Klepak said.

The farm offers tons of alpaca-themed gear everyone is sure to enjoy, including clothing, pillows and throws, dog toys and even stuffed animal alpacas. Shop the farm’s full collection of merchandise at Snowy-Range-Alpacas.myshopify.com.

Picturesque ‘Pacas

Snowy Range Alpacas makes a great venue for events like birthday parties, engagement photos and other special occasions. In fact, Klepak will even dress up alpacas Navajo and Cooper in hats, scarves and other attire for some adorable photo ops at events she hosts at her farm and at events around town. This year, Klepak and her alpacas won the “Best Theme Award” for their float in the Rockwall Kiwanis Christmas Parade. During the holiday season, Navajo and Cooper dressed in Christmas gear and paid visits to senior care homes around the county.

“We wanted to bring Christmas joy and happiness through our animals to those whose lives have meant so much, but who no longer have the mobility to visit the farm,” Klepak said.

Kathryn Klepak with alpacas Cooper and Navajo at the Meals on Wheels Havanah Nights event on Oct. 20. Photo by BRN Media.

Snowy Range Alpacas also offers daily tours of the farm, where folks of all ages can mingle with the alpacas in the pasture while learning interesting facts about them. During the summer, Klepak said she had tons of families and kids out each day petting on the animals, which absolutely loved the attention.

Courtesy photo.

“These are very unique, exotic animals, but they’re also very sweet and peaceful,” Klepak said. “More and more people are getting excited about having this farm in Rockwall, because not only is it a ton of fun, but it’s educational as well.”

Snowy Range offers tours by appointment only, $12 for adults and $6 for kids. Learn more about Snowy Range Alpacas at snowyrangealpacas.com.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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