About two dozen IU students gathered around a canopy tent near Showalter Fountain on Sept. 14, stopping on their way to class and snapping photos and videos on their phones. They smiled as they greeted the creatures in front of them, gently petting them and feeding them rabbit pellets and carrots.
Students were able to meet the two llamas, Hawk and Xanchoo, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. as part of IU Auditorium’s “Meet Tina the llama” event. The event was a lead-up to an IU Auditorium screening of “Napoleon Dynamite” and panel with cast members Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Jon Gries on Sept. 23.
Until midnight on Tuesday, those interested in purchasing IU Auditorium “Napoleon Dynamite” event tickets can use the promo code “Tina” for 20% off.
At about 1:00 p.m., 100 to 150 students had already stopped by to pet and feed the llamas, IU Auditorium Marketing Manager Ryan Sheets said.
“We’ve already burned through the first pile of waivers I had printed,” he said. “I had to go print more.”
While some were stopping to visit, other students were passing by and taking photos, Sheets said.
Hawk, an almost 3-year-old, and Xanchoo, a 15-year-old, are from Bloomington llama farm JC Llamas and Alpacas. Yvonne Jones, the owner of JC Llamas and Alpacas, said while neither llama is named Tina, Hawk’s greyish fur most resembles that of Tina from “Napoleon Dynamite.”.
“He doesn’t care what you call him,” she said. “He’s a pretty laid-back guy.”
Jones currently has five llamas and 10 alpacas, while also raising sheep and Angora goats.
Jones said Hawk and Xanchoo do spit, after a student asked, but typically only at each other for a reason, such as getting in each other’s space while trying to get into the feed bag at mealtime.
For freshman and marketing major Lev Lysyj, the llamas were something he didn’t want to miss.
“It’s the highlight of my day,” he said.
Lysyj said a friend came and told him there were llamas at Showalter Fountain, and they left to see them together. He and two friends all got the chance to feed and pet Hawk and Xanchoo.
Jones said the students are not allowed to feed Hawk and Xanchoo anything other than rabbit pellets or carrots. Lysyj said the llamas did go for something else’s orange.
“They did try to eat my phone,” Lysyj said. “They thought it was a carrot.”
Lysyj’s friend, freshman and neuroscience major Austentino Torres, said he heard about the llamas from a friend on Snapchat.
“A friend of mine sent me a story about her meeting llamas,” Torres said. “I was like, ‘I wanna meet llamas. Where are they?’”
Torres gave the experience high praise.
“Solid nine,” he said. “10 if I could ride them.”