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Shearers To Let Sheep Loose On Te Kuiti's Main St

29 March 2004

Shearers To Let Sheep Loose On Te Kuiti's Main St

About 2000 sheep will be let loose down Te Kuiti's main street, as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the New Zealand Shearing Championships.

The Championships get underway in Te Kuiti on Thursday , with the major shearing and woolhandling competitions taking place on Saturday .

New Zealand Shearing Championships President John Grainger says the organising committee has adopted the world famous 'running of the bulls' concept to create its own 'Sheep Run'.

"We are anticipating controlled chaos for the sheep run! Like in Spain, we are counting on the crowd to provide a natural barrier to the sheep and to help direct them down the street," Mr Grainger says.

"Rugby greats Colin Meads and Brian Lochore will ride on motorbikes with the sheep and we will also have some trained sheep dogs standing by to ensure the sheep go where they are meant to."

The Sheep Run will start at 1pm on Saturday and should make a great spectacle.

"We are really pleased the Sheep Run has the support of the Waitomo District Council, as we feel it has the potential to develop and become a unique event for the town and district," Mr Grainger says.

The Sheep Run will begin at the southern end of the town's main street, turning right halfway down before returning to the town's 'Shearing Capital of the World' statue of a shearer shearing a sheep.

Another special event being held to recognise the 20th anniversary is a 'Celebrity Shear-off' between Meads and Lochore and former Australian rugby player turned TV personality Peter FitzSimons.

"There's a lot of interest in the Shear-off and especially in how Peter FitzSimons will perform against the wise old heads of Colin and Brian. We are going to give Peter some expert tuition before the Shear-off."

He says in the past 20 years the New Zealand Shearing Championships has grown to become the largest event in the district, attracting hundreds of shearers and thousands of spectators and supporters.


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