Man knocked to ground during llama drama isn't holding a grudge

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

SUN CITY, Ariz. -- They made a run for it and people across the country couldn't get enough.
 
The Sun City llamas on the lam went viral, taking over the Internet and network news last week.

Now, for the first time, we are hearing from the man who was holding the llamas when the drama all began. The 82-year-old used to raise llamas and had invited them to his retirement community as therapy for the other residents and what he got was a whole lot more.

"All the group at my retirement center are overwhelmed," Richard Falkenberg said. "They're so happy to know that they were on television."

Falkenberg can laugh now, but he was the one holding on to the ring leader, Kanita, when the llamas went on the lam in Sun City last Thursday, capturing the nation's attention.

Falkenberg had asked his friends Karen Freund and Bub Bullis to bring some llamas to the Carillons retirement community when apparently one of the residents with a plastic bag spooked Kanita.

"The poor lady that did that is still apologizing," Falkenberg said.

Falkenberg was knocked to the ground.

"I was just scared to death that he had broken something and then she started to drag him so I told him to let her go," Freund said.

And the chase was on!

After the ordeal, Freund and Bullis, both retired Phoenix police officers, invited Falkenberg to their home to make sure everyone was OK.

"Nothing's bruised I'm just old and have to sit down," Falkenberg assured.

And the two culprits, Kanita and Lainey, have also recovered. They are back to their training because when they are not on the run, they are both show llamas, even competing in obstacle competitions. But last week, their freedom got the best of them.

"It became a game for her," Freund explained about Kanita, the 4-year-old. "She was playing out in this big field. She had all this room to run."

Full of llama love, Falkenberg is not holding any grudges.

"I love them and any time that I can get to come and work with them I'd like to because they're wonderful things," he said. "The llamas are absolutely super!"
          
And now the public has a chance to meet the "getaway" llamas. The owners say Turf Paradise has asked them to appear at the track for their camel races on March 28.

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