Mataura man Brett Roberts was brought up in the shearing industry but to win the senior section of Golden Shears this year was a one-in-a-million for the 20-year-old.
Roberts has spent the past six years in and out of the shearing shed, first picking up a handpiece at age 14 while still at Menzies College.
This year was the fifth year he had competed in the Golden Shears, his third in the senior section.
Roberts said he had a huge support crew going into the event every year, with his grandparents following him to Masterton to watch him compete.
He was also on the back of two wins and a second place in other North Island shows before competing in the Golden Shears.
As he lined up for this year's final Roberts said there was the usual talk between the competitors.
''I did feel the pressure but I tried not to show it.''
Show shearing is about quality.
Roberts represented not only Mataura but the whole South Island as he was the only one from the south to make the final of the senior section.
In an industry struggling with the number of dairy conversions in the region, Roberts said he still enjoyed the job, and being a part of a shearing team.
The win was a huge emotional time for his grandparents who had stood by his side throughout the event.
Roberts shears for Waihape Shearing in Mataura which is owned by his grandparents and was started in 1991.
In the New Zealand shearing off-season he travels to Australia to continue to do a job he loves.
Next year he planned to step up to compete in the open section of the Golden Shears which would see him compete alongside fellow Southlander Nathan Stratford, who won this year's open title.
For now it was back to the shearing sheds around Eastern Southland and on to the rugby field for Mataura, Roberts said.
- The Southland Times
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