Baa set high at Golden Shears

Hundreds of competitors, sheep descend

TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 15:24 01/03/2013

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The bar is set high even for novices - 50 sheep sheared in eight hours. But that's nothing compared to seniors, who do up to 365.

Golden Shears, a three-day, international sporting event has kicked off in Masterton and sees more than 300 shearers, woolhandlers and pressers at the ready to take care of 3,500 sheep and compete for the coveted title.

Competitors have come from as far as South Korea, Scotland and the Chatham Islands to take part. 

To be eligible for the junior shearing category the limit is set at 185 sheep sheared in eight hours, intermediate level competitors can do around 275 sheep, and senior up to 365 in eight hours.

The open category is for anyone who thinks they can better that. 

The current world sheep shearing record - for strongwool ewes - is held by Bennydale's Rodney Sutton who sheared 721 sheep in nine hours.

David Fagan, who has won the Golden Shears title 16 times in 29 years, is competing again this year along with previous winners John Kirkpatrick, Dion King, and Cam Ferguson.

John Kirkpatrick won the open championship crown last year.

Sheep are specially prepared a year in advance for the event, which has now been running for 53 years. 

"They are the strongest, most healthy of the flock and are primed for the event,'' said animal handling team leader Stephen Simoneck. 

The 'long wools' are not be shorn for a year, building up the Golden Shears to ensure a full fleece for the senior shearers, and others are not shorn for eight months, said Simoneck.

GOLDEN SHEARS LIVE STREAM 

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- The Dominion Post

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