Junior shearing comps popular

16:00, Jan 14 2014

Organisers for this week's Southland sheep shearing championships say they expect its junior section to possibly be the most prominent.

Shearing Sports New Zealand's regional delegate Michael Hogan said organisers in the south had seen massive growth in its junior section over the past few years.

"Four years ago we were only getting six to eight juniors in each competition, but it has progressed now and juniors is one of the most prominent categories," he said.

A few years ago organisers crutched 800 sheep for the junior competition, expecting about five entries, but ended up having to rush off with trailers to get more when they had 18 entries, he said.

It was a relief to see the category booming after concerns from older shearers that no-one was coming through the ranks to replace them.

Agriculture student Max Winders, 20, said he had come up through the competition ranks after he took his first shearing class with Tectra when he was 15.

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He had noticed more juniors coming through the ranks, he said.

"Schools are encouraging the young farm boys to give shearing a go . . . they are giving them the right skills, which means they are enjoying it."

Competitions were great because you had the world's best shearing right in front of you, he said. "They are right there and you pick up wee tips."

Mr Winders shears during the summer, which he said was a great way to earn money and spend the summer.

The Southland Times