Big guns out at Southern Shears

World Champion wool handler Joel Henare is competing at the Southern Shears in Gore.
Rachael Kelly

World Champion wool handler Joel Henare is competing at the Southern Shears in Gore.

If you missed out on tickets for the final of the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill, you still have the chance to see two world champions in action at the Southern Shears in Gore this weekend.

Joel Henare, who was crowned world champion woolhandler, competed in the heats at the Hokonui Pavilion at the Gore A & P Showgrounds on Friday morning.

And on Saturday, world champion shearer John Kirkpatrick would compete in the open shearing competition.

Nova Kumeroa-Elers of Mataura throws a fleece at the Southern Shears in Gore.
Rachael Kelly

Nova Kumeroa-Elers of Mataura throws a fleece at the Southern Shears in Gore.

Henare said it had not quite sunk in that he was right at the top of his game just yet.

"It's the ultimate really, just like shearers going for world records."

Competition had been "pretty good" on Friday morning but he was expecting temperatures to heat up in the pavilion during the afternoon.

"When the sun comes out it makes it harder to throw because the heat opens the fleece up. It's easier for the shearers but harder for us."

Henare said he didn't do any particular training to stay at the top of the woolhandling industry.

"For the big competitions like the worlds, it's more of a mental game. Shearers have to be physically ready every day but for woolhandling it comes down to the mental side of things and how you handle that.

"If you put yourself under a bit of mental pressure at work, like looking after three shearers yourself, it helps."

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Southern Shears secretary and treasurer Trudy Paewai said she was expecting a big crowd at the finals late tomorrow afternoon to see Henare and Kirkpatrick in action.

Some events, such as the New Zealand vs Wales shearing competition had been cancelled this year because the committee were expecting more entries from competitors who had been at the World Championships.

"They always support our show. The top shearers always come to Gore."

 - Stuff

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