By Tonya Little
Midwest City Beacon
Tommy Schwarz, a sixth grader from Carl Albert Middle School, won the 2023 Youth National Champion Alpaca Showman award last month in Denver, Colorado.
Schwarz won the national event showing his 10-year-old alpaca Freckles and participated in four different categories which included an obstacle course, showmanship, halter performance and a costume portion. Tommy took first place in Costume, Obstacles and Public Relations, and third place in Showmanship, as well as winning the National Champion position.
He advanced to nationals after winning two other levels of the competition in both Oklahoma and Texas.
“I think to get kids into working with animals is very important to get them out of the craziness with all the smartphones and tablets and accomplish something. They have to practice with them and then go to the shows and show them and they see that they can do it,” said Tommy’s mother Larisa Schwarz.
Tommy is responsible for taking care of Freckles, which includes feeding him, bringing in the hay, cleaning the stall, and daily practice of harness leading and obstacle courses. Tommy has been training and working with alpacas for the last year, on his family’s Alpaca farm located at 11601 SE 59th St. The farm is called Alpaca Fun Farm where they have 8 alpacas used for special events and different programs like Yoga with Alpacas, as well as regular farm visits. The farm also offers special training programs for the Youth Alpaca competitions to help young contestants like Tommy prepare for the competitions.
“I like it because I think it’s fun and I get to learn new things and how to overcome the obstacles each time I go to a show. The obstacle course is my favorite portion of the show,” said Tommy.
Larisa said the responsibilities kids need to learn when taking care of animals is very important and knowing that it doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend or a holiday, that the animals still need to be taken care of on a daily basis. Tommy not only participates in the Alpaca competitions, but he joins his family in taking the Alpacas out to community events such as to nursing homes and schools. They recently participated in an Easter event where they brought the alpacas out for an egg hunt and community event.
“I also think getting to go to different places and meet new friends all over is really good for the kids. Tommy met a boy at the Texas competition, and they see each other at the shows. So the kids can get into new friendships in new places,” said Larisa.
The Schwarz family have a website for their Alpaca farm at www.alpacafunfarm.com and they have a Facebook page with the same name. They offer visits and photos at the farm, along with booking the alpacas for special events like birthday parties and more. You can find out more information by visiting their sites.