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Shears battle's well underway

Shears battle's well underway

Day one of the 54th Golden Shears – the olympics of sheep shearing and woolhandling, ended on an electric note last night as the best of the best stipped their sheep clean in a test of pure speed and agility.

The day had seen a number of early triumphs for competitors on both the shearing boards and the tables as the glory of gaining a Golden Shears title drove on the compeition. But as night fell, it was the pure speed of the top gun shearers in the speedshear final as wool was literally blasted off the sheep and set the capacity crowd alive at Masterton's War Memorial Stadium.

The scene was set for a frenzied showdown after Hasting's Dion King and and Winton's Darin Forde shook off the pack, including the surprise quarterfinal elmination of veteran shearing royalty David Fagan, and got the competition down to a two man tussle to grab the top prize.

And, with clippers flying, the pair didn't disappoint. The result was as close as you'd ever get with a draw , without actually being one.

But it was King who claimed victory, shearing his woolly ewe clean in just 24.7 seconds, beating Forde's time by by a by a mere four-hundredths of a second.

Earlier in the day, it was the young guns flying on the boards as the novice and junior ranks competition got underway.

The first shearing title went to 15-year-old Fielding school boy Connor Puha, who took out the Novice crown. But Connor is no noive when it comes to life in the wooldshed. The youngster made his first apperance at Golden Shears as a 12 year old in the woolhandling divisions. I

The excitement has continued on day two and the stories of the people who make the event what it is have also unfolded.

Multiple world and Golden Shears woolhandling champion Joanne Kumeroa made a stunning return to the grand stage this morning, qualifying for the quarter finals in the open woolhandling heats, a year after thinking cancer would mean she’d never see “the Goldies” again.

A year ago doctors told her she had only nine months to live. A doctors visit on Monday has confirmed she is fighting hard, with “half the cancer now gone.”

The competition will continue throughout the afternoon and eyes will be on the big guns as they step up in the open shearing heats. The field will be whittled down to a top 30 who'll shear for a semi finals spot tonight.

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