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Canterbury Shears Ready To Start In New Woolshed Venue

A week before the big event about 20 shearers and woolhandlers gathered to prepare the sheep for the Canterbury Shears and New Zealand Corriedale Shearing and Woolhandling Championships. Photo: Supplied

Organisers of the Canterbury Shears’ New Zealand Corriedale shearing and woolhandling championships are expecting over 100 competitors for the events on Thursday and Friday, despite a move from Christchurch to a woolshed 115km away in inland North Canterbury.

Many of the shearers are also likely to compete at the the Get to the Point Pleasant Point Gymkhana Shears in Canterbury on Saturday.

A classic example of the team effort needed to stage such events was when about 20 shearers and woolhandlers crutched the Canterbury Shears last week (pictured after the day’s work).

The Canterbury Shears, the fourth championships on a 2020-2021 Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar hit by the cancellation of five shows in the first five weeks because of the coronavirus crisis, will be held at Marble Point Station, off State Highway 7 south of Hanmer Springs.

Woolhandling will be competed in all three grades from Junior to Open on Thursday starting with heats from 8am, but with just two tables in use at a time because of the space limitations of the u-shaped five-stand shearing board. With the programme including a contractors teams event, the woolhandling finals are are expected to be held late afternoon.

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All the shearing competition will be held on Friday, in the four grades from Junior to Open and the premier Golden Blades bladeshearing championship, the day also starting with heats from 8am.

Also on Friday’s programme are an Intermediate grade match between Canterbury and Te Kuiti, and the final of the Canterbury Circuit featuring five of the top shearers at the time the qualifying series was curtailed by event cancellations since mid-March.

The finalists are new New Zealand Winter Comb champion Troy Pyper, Ringakaha Paewai, Shaun Burgess, Dave Brooker and Lyall Windleburn.

Organising committee spokesman Brooker said more than 25 of the country’s top shearers are expected for the Open shearing championship heats on Friday, most of them chasing points in the National Shearing Circuit, in which the first two of the five rounds were shorn at the Waimate Spring Shears a month ago.

The circuit leads to the 48th McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown final at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March.

Shearers will also be chasing points in the 2020-2021 Canterbury Circuit, the New Zealand Shears Circuit (in which the final will be shorn at the New Zealand Shears in Te Kuiti in April), and for Junior and Intermediate shearers in the Canterbury-Marlborough Development Circuit, the top competitors from which will also go to the New Zealand Shears.

The woolhandling grades are also part of the South Island Woolhandler of the Year circuit, with points counting towards qualifying for the finals at Waimate next October.

The new venue for the Canterbury Shears was decided after the events were unable to be contested at the New Zealand Agricultural Show (formerly the Canterbury A and P Show), which was one of the shows cancelled because the uncertainty created by the pandemic.

Organisers hope that it will be back at the show in Christchurch next year.

The schedule of events is:

Thursday - Woolhandling and Contractors Teams Event

Report 7.15am, Start 8am: Junior heats, Senior heats, Open heats, Junior semi-finals, Senior semi-finals, Open semi-finals, Junior final, Teams heats, Senior final, Teams final, Open final.

Friday – Shearing (programme will run continuously, no stop for lunch).

Report 7.15am, Start 8am: Junior heats, Intermediate heats, Senior heats, Junior semi-finals (if required), Intermediate semi-final (if required), Senior semi-final (if required), Te Kuiti challenge,

Blades heats, Open machines heats, Open semi-final, Junior final, Intermediate Senior final, Canterbury circuit final, Blades final, Open final.

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