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Fagan Unlikely Underdog At Shearing Champs

For Immediate Release
28 March 2005

Fagan Unlikely Underdog At Shearing Champs

New Zealand’s greatest ever shearer David Fagan goes into this week’s New Zealand Shearing Championships as the underdog.

The 21st New Zealand Shearing Championships kick off in Te Kuiti at the Waitomo Events Centre on Thursday and run until Saturday .

The defending champion, Fagan came second to Stratford’s Paul Avery at the Golden Shears in Masterton earlier this month and Napier Shearer John Kirkpatrick has also beaten Fagan in major open titles this season.

Being the underdog is a scenario Te Kuiti-based Fagan, a five times World Champion, winner of 15 Golden Shears and 14 Shearing Championship titles is unfamiliar but comfortable with.

Aged 43, Fagan says he now has a much more relaxed attitude towards competing.

“I am not as sharp as I used to be. I can live with that, but if they think I am washed up and finished they would be wrong.”

Fagan says he has been in the twilight of his career for the past couple of years.

“It’s been quite amazing that I have been able to do what I have done in the last two to three years. I am well aware that I am not as dominant as I used to be.”

In saying that, he is adamant he has no plans to retire and he will be back competing next season. “I enjoy it too much – the friendship and the social side of it.”

Fagan was integral in establishing the New Zealand Shearing Championships at Te Kuiti 21 years ago and says his local competition is special and becoming more so.

“The Golden Shears may have the history and mana, but quite frankly its $2000 to win and for the modern shearer I think they will want to win at Te Kuiti because it’s a $16,000 prize pack.

“It’s by far the biggest prize in world shearing and that’s special for Te Kuiti and the Championships,” Fagan says.

New Zealand Shearing Championships President John Grainger says about 250 shearers have entered the championships, the biggest event in Te Kuiti each year. It is sponsored by FMG, Merial, DB, Heiniger Shearing Equipment, Otorohonda and Honda First.

“We’re expecting thousands of people to converge on Te Kuiti, crowned the ‘Shearing Capital of the World’ with its large statue of a shearer shearing a sheep, to watch the competition and also experience the ‘NZ Shears Sheep Run’.”

Mr Grainger says following the success of last year’s ‘NZ Shears Sheep Run’, 2000 sheep will again run down Te Kuiti’s main street with the crowds of people acting as a natural barrier.

“Last year’s Sheep Run attracted huge attention and was a lot of fun. This year we have made some improvements that will make it better and ensure more people are involved.”

He says a number of other events are planned for the championships.


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