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Shearing king . . .  Acclaimed shearer Sir David Fagan contested the Waimate Shears' "father and son" event in Waimate last year. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

by Chris Tobin

Some of the world’s best shearers will be in Waimate for the annual Spring Shearing Competition later this week.

One of the organisers, Warren White, said the event used to clash with a similar competition in Gisborne but this was not happening this year.

He expected more North Island shearers would be in Waimate for the Friday and Saturday event, than there had been in previous years.

semifinals and team heats will be held on Friday afternoon. In the evening, the speed shear starts and the fleece throw will feature.

“This makes for a really good social night,” Mr White said.

The winner in the speed shearing will receive $2500 and the fleece-throwing winner $1000.

“We don’t charge anyone; it’s gold coin entry,” Mr White said.

“We try to make it family friendly but if people want to make a donation, they can.”

Mr White said the event cost between $50,000 to $60,000 each year but managed to break even.

Other events on Friday are the junior/intermediate, senior and open clean shear.

“We hope to get a few more intermediate shearers. It’s quite hard to get them these days.”

On Saturday morning the junior, intermediate, senior and open machine heats will be held, followed in the afternoon by a father and son fun event, woolhandling, teams finals and blade heats.

A blade test between New Zealand and Australia will be held in the early evening and the machine shearing finals will follow.

Local band Top Shelf will then entertain.

The competition will be held at the Shear Pavilion at the A&P Showgrounds.

“It’ll be busy at the showgrounds. An equestrian show will be held there at the same time,” Mr White said.

Before the show, a pre-shears course will be held on Thursday and Friday.

The annual Spring Shears begins a busy month in Waimate, with the Waimate 50 Motorsport Festival running over two weekends. A hillclimb and rally sprint will take place on the first weekend, starting on October 13, and street racing the next weekend.