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Gun shears line up for centenary show-down

Gun shears line up for centenary show-down

January 25, 2008: The biggest line-up of champion shearers to take to the stands will next week celebrate the centenary of the sport of shearing.

While the exact start of competition shearing in New Zealand is lost in the mists of time, one of the first clashes was in 1908 at the Paparoa Show on the Northern Kaipara Harbour, Northland.

Among those taking part in the centenary celebrations at Paparoa on February 2 are the members of the current New Zealand shearing team, the current holders of the world speed shearing titles, and New Zealand champions from the past five decades

New Zealand shearing team manager Neil Sidwell, who lives in nearby Ruawai, says that the contest is one of the most exciting ever held in shearing.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before – and we’re not likely to see it again,” he said.

“These are the big guys of New Zealand shearing, together in one place.”

The Paparoa Open event will see New Zealand shearing legend David Fagan, with 582 open titles to his name, and his New Zealand team-mate Paul Avery battle it out against world record-holders Rodney Sutton (721 ewes in nine hours) and Dion King (866 lambs in nine hours).

Former champions dusting off their hand-pieces to take part include:

* Brian Waterson (1963 Golden Shears champion) * Norm Blackwell (1974 and 1975 Golden Shears champion) * Ivan Rosandich (1981 Golden Shears winner) * The Bramley brothers – Alan (Golden Shears junior winner 1979) and Ken (Golden Shears junior winner 1974) * The Te Whata brothers – Samson (Golden Shears junior champion 1972 and senior champion 1974), Ken (Golden Shears intermediate champion 1976) and Mana (Golden Shears junior champion 1981) * Hugh McCarroll, (Golden Shears intermediate title 1967).

Twenty-year-old local hero Rowland Smith of Ruawai (Golden Shears junior champion 2004, senior champion 2006 and open finalist 2007), will also compete, along with Tane Henderson of Kaiwaka (Golden Shears intermediate champion 2006) and his 16-year-old brother Toa.

Mr Sidwell said that the organisers of the 1908 clash probably had little idea that shearing would develop into a world-wide sport.

“Up until then it was just mate against mate in the shed.”

Other events at the 132nd North Kaipara A and P Association show include:

Highland and other cattle, rodeo, axe competitions, horse eventing, dog agility, bullock teams, carnival rides, sideshows, children’s competitions and races, a petting zoo, lawnmower racing, rock-wall climbing, ­­­­old-time vehicles, vegetable and flower growing competitions, baking, preserving, winemaking and handcrafts.

ENDS

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