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Fagan despairs as big shearing champs loom

March 26, 2014

Fagan despairs as big shearing champs loom

Multiple World, Golden Shears and national shearing champion David Fagan is giving-up hope on one of his dreams - that he will one day be able to go to the New Zealand championships as just a competitor.

When home-town Te Kuiti marks the three-day 30th championships starting tomorrow(Thursday) it will be another milestone in a remarkable career in which he’s been both a competitor and an organiser of the event throughout the three decades since its inception as the King Country Shears in1985.

He’s won the 20-sheep, six-man Open final 16 times, and has only once missed once qualifying for the annual Saturday night showdown. But at Te Kuiti he’s also excelled as an administrator, one of only two people to serve on the committee from Day One.

Helping prepare for the championships, which will feature over 200 shearers and woolhandlers and about 3500 sheep – with guests including Prime Minister John Key - the 52-year-old Fagan said: “I guess I’ve always wanted to be able to come here, just once, as just a competitor. But I guess that’s never going to happen now.”

While the records show he and stadium announcer John Grainger share the record for committee room involvement, he’s unsure whether anyone else has matched his longevity in the Open championship.

“I can’t think of anyone else,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone else would be silly enough.”

The committee prides itself on offering the richest prizes in World shearing, with over $20,000 worth available to the winner of the Open Championship, which he’s chasing again in the heats which will be held on Friday.

But the extra drawcard is the second of two machine shearing places in the New Zealand team for the World Championships in Ireland in May.

“That’s what everyone’s coming for,” said Fagan, who’s won five individual World titles and remains among the favourites for another bid, up against Hawke’s Bay stars John Kirkpatrick, Cam Ferguson and Dion King, and such others as Wairarapa farmer David Buick, and Southland gun Nathan Stratford.

In terms of the New Zealand title, they’ll all be up against it with defending champion Rowland Smith, of Hastings, the hot favourite who four weeks ago won his second Golden Shears Open title, and the first of the two places in the team.

A range of other national, inter-island and transtasman shearing titles and national woolhandling titles will be decided at the championships, with competitors including the two members of an indigenous Australian team who shore crossbred New Zealand sheep for the first time in two competitions at Waitomo and Stratford last weekend.

ENDS

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