Some of these events are conceived by sober minded burghers in the offices of the Chamber of Commerce. Others are thought up by less sober people in saloons. The Running of the Llamas in Hammond Wisconsin appears to be of the second variety.
The 20th Annual Running of the Llamas has just concluded. It was the Grand Finale, The Last Call, the final Camelid Roundup. For reasons not quite specified the event is coming to an end.
The first Running apparently was a stunt by The Hammond Hotel, a vintage drinking establishment on the main street of town. Back in 1997 in a "customer appreciation event" three llamas dashed around the building several times....and then in the back door and out the front. I have never been in a bar where galloping llamas went charging through. But on reflection I have to say that I would be appreciative. In any event the idea caught on and evolved into an annual festival. The races are now down Main Street.
Some scenes - ne'er to be seen again - from The Running of the Llamas.
Most llamas are just darned cute.
A few are harder to love. This guy has peculiar, piercing Hypnotoad eyes. I found myself being subtly influenced to do the bidding of Llamakind.....
I might have been too impressed with his owner's hat. This is Kahia, my pick to Win. Despite two prior championships she finished last in her qualifying heat. Check out the underbite. Orthodontists must dream of llamas.
Prior to the actual race there was a little parade. Unicycles, belly dancers, a guy dressed as Uncle Sam. And of course there was:
A bag piper followed by the parade's Master of Ceremonies traveling in rather Imperial fashion in his llama pulled chariot.
But on to the racing. Some llamas and their handlers were really bookin' it.
Others rather less so. But in the interest of journalistic accuracy I must report that this very reluctant llama saw the finish line just in time and sprinting forward won his heat!
It all went off without a hitch. I credit Llama Security.
The winning llama did not get a victor's laurel. No, he would have eaten it. Instead there was a colorful basket of garden produce.
It was a sunny afternoon of light hearted fun but I felt just a twinge of sadness that this was "it". But twenty years is a nice round number and I guess it makes sense to go out on a high note. Certainly the crowd was appreciative, I don't think you could jam many more people into the downtown of this little hamlet with a population under 2000.
Many were wearing llama themed headgear fancy or simple
Farewell to the Running of the Llamas. Hammond Wisconsin will now be a quieter and less weird place.