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World champions . . . Tony Dobbs (left) and Alan Oldfield will be competing at this year's Waimate Shears.

by Chris Tobin

The Waimate Shears will be breaking new ground in this year’s 52nd competition.

For the first time, women will go head to head in their own shearing event.

In another first, the entire competition will be streamed live after the organisers bought new equipment.

“It’ll be going around the world,” Waimate Shears president Warren White said.

“It has cost us $40,000 getting the equipment to livestream and Makikihi Fries has given us $8500 sponsorship for a new media room.

“With all the TVs and video cameras we’ve got now it’s like a mini TV station.

“We’re into our third year in our new pavilion; it’s a work in progress.”

The $800,000 pavilion opened at Waimate’s A&P showgrounds in 2017.

The Waimate Shears are held as part of the PGG Wrightson National shearing competition which is contested by the country’s top shearers.

Newly crowned world blade shearing champion Alan Oldfield is a confirmed entrant as is his New Zealand team-mate at the world championships in France this year, Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie.

The two men combined to take the world teams’ blade shearing title in France.

“They will be having a test against Australian shearers as well,” Mr White said.

Entries were always slow to come in but other leading shearers expected in Waimate include Jack Fagan, of Te Kuiti, who won his second consecutive World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships’ All-Nations speed shear in France this year.

A lot of organising went into the event, Mr White said, especially by secretary Eileen Smith.

“We always try to break even and make a small profit.”

The Waimate Shears will be held on October 11 and 12.