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Fagan Finding Competition Tough

9 March 2006

Fagan Finding Competition Tough

Champion shearer David Fagan has less than a month to find form and resurrect his poorest start to the shearing competition season in more than two decades of competing.

“It’s been the worst season I can remember, a bit disappointing really,” New Zealand’s greatest ever shearer, Fagan, said.

At this year’s two biggest competitions Fagan hasn’t performed to expectations. At the Golden Shears in Masterton at the weekend he failed to make the final, repeating his performance at the Southern Shears in Balclutha last month where he also failed to make the final six.

“I’m probably not as fit as I have been, and am comfortable with being on the back foot and being the underdog,” he says.

On April 1 he will line up in his final outing of the season at the New Zealand Shearing Championships in his hometown of Te Kuiti. There he is the defending champion and the holder of 15 open titles.

At 44 years of age, Fagan is also the oldest among the group of elite shearers who push their bodies to the max while racing to shear 20 adult sheep the fastest and with the least cuts. It takes about 14 minutes and requires the shearers to be extremely fit and flexible – shearing is back breaking hard work.

The pace is taking its toll on Fagan and he has begun to hint at retirement. He says his focus has changed.

But Fagan, who holds 15 Golden Shears titles, should never be counted out. He simply loves competing and loves winning.

He picks Dion King of Napier, John Kirkpatrick of Napier, Dean Ball of Te Kuiti, and Paul Avery of Stratford as the favourites for the New Zealand Shearing Championships from March 30 to April 1.

The winner will take home the biggest prize in world shearing, $3000 cash and a $12,500 Honda EX400 racing quad bike.

The New Zealand Shearing Championships are sponsored by FMG, Super Shear, Merial, DB, Otorohonda and Honda First.

Entries close on March 18.

ENDS

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