A 1981 graduate of Stephens College, with a dual-major bachelor's degree with honors in equine science and business administration, and a 1983 business management graduate of Katharine Gibbs College in Boston, Susan Swope is the founder of Alpacas of the Bluegrass. She brings a lifetime of experience and success in the horse show ring and industry to provide top-notch care and management of the alpacas. Susan regularly attends seminars to learn and improve upon her knowledge of the alpaca industry, and received neonatal training and certification at Ohio State in 2004.
At 19-years-old, Susan's son, Travis Winkler has been keenly involved in the business from the start. He works the day-to-day operation of the farm, is an expert truck and trailer driver, and along with Sharon Darby, frequently manages operations and show ring handling at the numerous alpaca shows at which the farm attends. Currently a freshman in college, Travis also trained at Ohio State, Summer 2005, receiving his Herd Management and Alpaca Neonatal certification. He is directly involved in sales, breeding and purchasing decisions, and a well-respected show ring handler.
Sharon Darby joined Alpacas of the Bluegrass in June of 2007 as our full-time herd manager. She holds a bachelors degree in equine science and business administration from Midway College and received her camelid neonatal training in September of 2007. Sharon is responsible for the day to day management of our breeding program and herd health. An expert horse person quickly becomes an astute alpaca person and Sharon is a definite asset to our program. She possesses a "can-do" attitude, and not only practical knowledge, but a keen intuition towards the well-being of our herd. Anyone who raises livestock, regardless of the species, will attest that this intuition is a definitive asset. She is also an excellent show ring handler.