The first alpacas were imported into the United States in 1984. During the several years that followed that first importation, these original Alpaca owners began to meet and discuss the formation of an association. On June 17, 1988, at Shanty Creek Lodge in Bellaire, Michigan, 38 people gathered in a "special meeting" to discuss the formation (including by-laws and articles of incorporation) of what is now known as the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, Inc. (AOBA). The basic by-laws were approved in October of 1988, and finally filed in September of 1990. In June of 1991, the Internal Revenue Service, under 501c(5) granted the association a non-profit status.