Southern Shears begins event with woolhandling

19:06, Feb 17 2013

About 100 people gathered at the Gore showgrounds yesterday for the start of the 2013 Southern Shears.

The event began with woolhandling heats for junior, senior and open grades, and finished with a north v south challenge.

Woolhandlers were judged on workmanship on the board, sorting and quality of fleece, throws, tidiness and speed.

North Island shearer Joel Henare was the open woolhandling winner against Taiwha Nelson and Keryn Kerbert, and took home the $1000 cash prize and a trophy.

Destiny Pohapu, of Riversdale, won the junior grade and Milton woolhandler Cheri Peterson won the senior competition.

Southern Shears chairman Chas Tohiariki said the open finalists were top competitors from throughout the country.

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"You can see the experience come through in the grades," he said.

It was good to see such strong numbers in the lower grades, with 15 entries in the junior heats, he said.

The woolhandling was followed by a new speed shear event - an extra drawcard for competitors.

The Southern Shears followed on from the MLT Longford Tavern Tui Speed Shear on Thursday night, which drew top Southland shearers Darrin Forde and Leon Samuels for the open competition.

Paerata Abraham was the fastest shearer on the night with a time of 22.12sec for a sheep.

The Gore Southern Shears continues today with open shearing competitions and the naming of the South Island Shearer of the Year.

terri.russell@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times