2024 Distinguished Service Award

Michael & Jean Haumschild

Mike and Jean Haumschild never thought they would be involved with llamas when they moved to Ohio to Jean’s family’s farm in 1979. Balancing a third generation farm of cattle, sheep and hogs along with their teaching careers seemed like enough to keep them busy. Then at the Ohio State Fair they watched an exhibition show of llamas, and Mike was convinced that a llama would be a great addition to the farm. In 1990 when Jean had the kids at a volleyball tournament Mike was out purchasing their first llama. And the rest they say, is history. Today Mike and Jean, along with their four kids and eight grandchildren, actively raise llamas and beef cattle on the farm. Although the hogs and sheep are no longer raised there, their activities involving llamas has continued to grow.

Mike and Jean’s kids quickly fell in love with showing llamas, traveling around eastern United States to attend llama shows and participating in showmanship/performance classes for youth. It was very rewarding and a great learning experience as they grew up showing their llamas. They made many friends that they would see as they traveled with their sports teams during their college years and are now introducing their children to showing and caring for the thirty llamas on the farm. In 1999 Mike decided to become a llama judge and was approved to judge youth and performance classes. Within a few years he expanded his judging to include halter classes and also became a teaching judge. Jean was asked by Jack Moore if she would come up with music to play during shows to add some fun to the events. As the years past, many exhibitors would request songs that she would add to her play list and now exhibitors actually name their llamas with certain songs in mind that can be played when they are in the ring.

Throughout the time they have been involved with llamas, Mike and Jean served as the superintendents of the Buckeye ALSA Regional show for nine years, and worked with the Ohio State University Extension Office to assist in developing a resource manual for youth that chose llamas as their 4-H projects. While not exactly sure when she began clerking shows solo, Jean believes it started with the Buckeye Regional and possibly the first Ohio River Valley Llama Association Summer Solstice show. She has continued to work shows as an on-site clerk as well as clerking shows as the head clerk whenever needed. They had been advisors for a Coshocton County Llama 4-H Club for twenty-nine years and are extremely proud that their members have earned special recognition as a banner club every year of its existence. They have also served on many 4-H committees within the Coshocton County 4-H program and currently are the chairmen of the Coshocton County Open Llama Show held in conjunction with the county fair each year. Additionally, Mike and Jean have judged and/or clerked many of the most prestigious shows in the country and are committed to sharing their knowledge to help the industry grow. Last winter Mike and Jean were asked to speak to future veterinary students at Ohio State about llamas and the situations where veterinarians are needed for llama care. Two weeks after that presentation, they were asked to bring llamas to OSU Veterinarian Spring Symposium so the students attending could watch the instructors do hands on evaluations on the animals. It was quite an honor and rewarding experience to get to discuss llamas with the students in that veterinarian program.

“We are extremely humbled and honored to receive this award at The Gathering this year. We hope we can continue to work within the llama industry for many years to come, and be with the great friends we have made within this organization,” Mike and Jean Haumschild.