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Sheep In For Street Surprise

For Immediate Release
20 March 2006

Sheep In For Street Surprise

The thousands of sheep running down Te Kuiti’s main street on Saturday April 1 are in for a surprise – something is going to stop them in their tracks.

The third annual ‘Sheep Run’ is part of the New Zealand Shearing Championships and signals the final day of competition.

Championships Chairman Jim Gibb says some changes have been made to the Sheep Run to add to its public appeal and ensure it continues to develop.

“We’re planning to run the sheep to the middle of town and then stop them. Right now we don’t know how we are going to do that, but we are working on it,” Mr Gibb says.

This year the Sheep Run will begin at 2pm, with the about 2000 ¼ Finn Romney cross sheep running from the south end of Te Kuiti’s main street, Rora St, to the north end.

“It will be a great spectacle with the crowds of people lining the street acting as a natural barrier. We call it Te Kuiti’s answer to the running of the bulls in Spain,” he says.

“Te Kuiti is the shearing capital of the world and the Sheep Run has been a great way to attract greater attention to the sheep industry and shearing sports in New Zealand – and have some fun along the way.”

Mr Gibb says the run has the full support of the Waitomo District Council, and has become a unique event for the town and district.

New Zealand Idol Judge and entertainer Frankie Stevens will lead off the Sheep Run and also provide entertainment during the finals night at the Championships.

A $2000 prize is on offer for the person who guesses how many sheep are in the run, and Merial is sponsoring an $800 power drill for the person who guesses how many sheep are carrying jockeys.

“We are going to put some sheep jockeys on the back of some sheep. There won’t be very many of them, but it will be quite confusing to guess the number when people try to count them,” Mr Gibb says.

Funds raised by the Te Kuiti Lions Club from the guessing games will be donated to the town’s Hillview Retirement Home.

“The Sheep Run and related events have all helped the New Zealand Shearing Championships grow to become the largest event in the district, attracting hundreds of shearers and thousands of spectators and supporters.”

In the shearing competitions, New Zealand’s greatest ever shearer David Fagan will compete for an unprecedented 16th open title. He is expected to face stiff competition from a number of shearers, making this year’s open the most competitive in years.

The New Zealand Shearing Championships are sponsored by FMG, Super Shear, Merial, DB, Otorohonda and Honda First, and begin on March 30.

ENDS

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