Shearing contest scrambles to get sheep

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2013

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Stratford's Taranaki Shears competition nearly faced a shortage of sheep on Sunday because of an unexpected consequence of the drought.

Taranaki Shears president Clint Bellamy said Taranaki stock trucks were in short supply as the region's drought-stricken farmers rushed to send their stock to the works.

"We thought we were going to have to bring in the dogs," Mr Bellamy said.

Fortunately a stock truck was found at the last minute and 900 sheep were brought in for a haircut.

And the sheep that were brought in were of a very high standard.

"Even though there has been a drought, these sheep have come in in very good condition," Mr Bellamy said.

"You can see . . . they're nice and round and shiny."

The standard of competition was extremely high with current and former world champions and the current Golden Shears champion all competing, Mr Bellamy said.

"We're pretty pleased and the crowd always love that."

A total of 95 shearers and wool handlers entered the competition, which is now in its 28th year.

"We were hoping for 100 at best so we were pretty pleased with that."

Of the 95 entries, 25 were wool handlers and 70 were shearers.

Volunteer Julie Hagenson, from Inglewood, said the Taranaki Shears was easily the largest shearing event on the calender.

Shearers from all over the North Island came to compete in it and some had even travelled from the South Island and Australia to compete.

The sunny weather was welcome from an operational perspective.

"We've got good weather for it which means dry sheep which is awesome," she said.

All those involved in the running of the Taranaki Shears were volunteers, Ms Hagenson said.

"It wouldn't happen if it wasn't for the volunteer workers who come to help.

"If they're lucky they might get a few free beers and a barbecue at the end of the day."

The winner of the open shearing division was John Kirkpatrick, from Napier

Taranaki shearer Paul Avery was placed second.

The winner of the open wool handling competition was Sheree Alabaster, from Taihape.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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