Our girls are the sweetest creatures around! They are extremely maternal and love babys of any shape, size, or species. When our little Tobias or Saige come on the farm, they come right up to them, very curiously sniffing their heads and rubbing their noses against Tobias's and Saiges neck and cheeks to give them little kisses. But don't get in their way when it's feeding time! These girls are hungry and their manners go out the door when it's time to eat. Hey, I can understand why! They've got lots of fleece to grow for the cold winter and new Alpaca babies to make!
The boys can be a bit rowdy with each other, always establishing a hierarchy on the ranch. Guess they've got to know who's in charge around here to keep things in order! Whether they're playing king of the hill on a new pile of dirt from the farm, or chasing each other as fast as they can in a race to the finish line; there's always a lot of action in the boys section of the ranch. But this is the Alpaca way. Jason will always intervene of things get too rough over there, but it's usually best to let them work it out amongst themselves as long as no one is getting hurt. But unlike the girls, when it's feeding time the boys become quite polite with each other. I guess they act more like a bunch of teenage boys, playing rough with each other, and then heads down eating all the food in the fridge, or lots and lots of grass in Alpaca land!
Speckles- Guard LLAMA
Speckles is the coolest dude on the farm. He hangs out all day and night with the boys to keep things under the control. Male alpacas have the tendency to get a bit rowdy, but Speckles keeps his cool, never gets riled up, and will intervene putting himself in between 2 rambunctious alpacas to break them up if necessary. And no coyote in his right mind is gonna come anywhere near the boys when speckles is around! At over 300lbs (our alpacas are nearly half his size), he'll send those coyotes running back up in to the hills, fast!
Bodhi- Livestock Guard Dog/Ranch Protector
Bodhi, Bodhi, Bodhi… our protector! Bodhi is one of Yampacas best employees, and we never knew we could love a livestock guardian dog so much. Bodhi works tirelessly, staying up all night long patrolling the ranch, to make sure our girls and boys stay safe from coyotes, bears, and mountain lions. And boy does he do a good job. You’d never know we lived in the middle of the mountains and countryside with how few wild animals come on to our property. You’ll see them in the distance, but never within a few hundred yards of Mr. Bodhi! Bodhi loves pretty much everything, and sleeping all day on his alpaca fiber bed or a bale of hay after a long, hard night of work.
Jackson- Traffic enforcement
Jackson Brown, Bodhis little brother is our Yampaca herding dog. He’s a miniature Australian shephard, but boy does he have a big heart. When the Alpacas are acting tough, and a little resistant to make the trek to their next piece of pasture, Jackson hears the action and will come running from miles away to keep them in line. When Jackson arrives, our fluffy fiber producers know we mean business, and away they go to greener pastures with Jackson barking and nipping near their heels. Oh yeah, did I mention he does all this at a mere 20lbs. Jason can barely get the alpacas to move at 8x’s Jacksons size ;-)
Jackson also loves cuddling with Hethir and Tobias, and playing fetch until your arm falls off.
Hethir Rodriguez- Handcraft Cozy Pom Knitter/ Alpaca Health
Hethir knows quality, and it shows in everything she does. After over a year of experimenting with different patterns and designs, Hethir developed the Cozy Pom hat on her Vintage Japanese knitting machine to create the perfect combination of coziness, warmth, and elegance. She also designed the super popular Paca Band headbands, and adds a wonderful female touch to Jason and Craigs masculine mountain design preferences. When Hethir’s not knitting Cozys and Paca Bands, she focuses her time on running the farms food production and overseeing the health of over 80 alpacas; making sure they are all happy, healthy and producing the best fiber possible!
Danielle Berkobien (aka Nelly)- Handcraft Flipside Knitter
Nelly is our Yampaca handcraft knitter extraordinaire. When Tobias and Saige started Montessori at 3, and Nelly wasn’t going to be taking care of them anymore, we Loved her so much that we convinced her to join the Yampaca team. Turns out she has great talent knitting flipside hats, and devotes herself to perfecting the flipside so you can enjoy her masterpieces. Nelly is completely committed to making the best hats possible and it shows in all of her work. We are so grateful we got to keep Nelly in our lives, and that she gets to create beautiful art daily for the Yampaca team!
Craig Weese- Alpaca Education and Advocacy
Craig grew up in the Rocky Mountains in a small town in western Montana. He began his journey in the mountains when he got onto the snow the first time when he was three, and never looked back.
Craig moved to Steamboat in 2013 when he found out the snow was better down south. He would stand in line over an hour before the lifts opened just to get the best snow on the mountain. This is where Craig and Jason met and it was there that they discovered they had a shared love for the mountains.
Shortly after moving to Steamboat, Craig started a small backcountry skiing business. He loved providing a great service to people who enjoyed the mountains, but when Jason showed him the amazing technical benefits of alpaca fleece he knew this is what he needed to do. Craig knew that he could better serve mountain communities by sharing with them the amazing benefits of alpaca fiber.
Craig loves the John Muir quote, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” It's probably one of the most overused mountain quotes in history, but Craig, like most people who live in the mountains, finds that when the mountains are calling there is no time waste.
Jason Rodriguez- Alpaca Wrangler, Product Design
Jason’s had a passion for the mountains since he began skiing at the age of 5. He moved to Colorado as a freshman in high school to pursue his passion for snowboarding and this changed the course of his life forever. There is nothing better to Jason then being in the mountains; whether flying through the trees on his snowboard, hiking through an aspen grove, or stand up paddle boarding on a mountain lake, being in the mountains is where he feels at peace and at home.”
After moving to Steamboat in 2015, Jason and Hethir decided to purchase a 50 acre ranch just outside of town to start a vegetable farm. They knew they need some grazing animals on the property, so they visited a herd of alpacas to purchase 10, and came home with 87!
As soon as Jason saw the Alpacas he instantly fell in Love with them, and immediately knew he could create the most beautiful hats out of their fiber. After further research and realizing that Alpacas had some of the best technical fiber in existence, he realized it was even more of a perfect match. After learning how to raise and care for these wonderful animals, and spending over a year developing the designs and specs for the hats, Yampaca was born.
“I am so grateful to be able to raise these beautiful animals and to produce these one of a kind hats, just for you! Thank you!" Jason
Lenox, Tobias and Saige
What can we say? These guys keep us on our toes and make life worth living! They all think it's pretty normal to hang out with Alpacas on a regular basis, and we plan to keep it that way. Tobias and Saige were born 5 days apart, and Lenox is almost exactly 1 year younger. We see a lifetime of friendship and fun in the mountains between these kiddos!