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Hometown boy waving the Norwegian flag

Neil and Emily

Hometown boy waving the Norwegian flag

He may be the reigning Norwegian shearing champion, but for Neil Perry, a return to Golden Shears 25 years after his last appearance is a true homecoming.

And it isn’t a solo show this time either as the 47-year-old dons the Norwegian colours alongside his daughter Emily, who is a late minute addition in the Scandinavian team as a woolhandler competing in the 15th World Championships this week in Masterton.

Perry, who last competed in the world’s premier shearing contest as a junior in the 1980’s, is a Greytown boy who chased love and moved to Scandinavia soon after his last local competition.

But now he is back home in the Wairarapa for his third world championships, having already represented Norway in the 1998 World Championships in Ireland and again in South Africa in 2000.

For Perry, the draw of not only a place in a world champs team but again being part of the 52nd Golden Shears was still as exciting as it was a quarter of a century ago, he said.

“It doesn’t matter where in the world you go as a shearer. Everybody knows Masterton and it is as they say. The Golden Shears is the pinnacle of shearing competitions worldwide.”

For his 20-year-old daughter, fighting nerves has been the biggest obstacle as she kicked off her competition in round one of World Woolhandling at Masterton’s War Memorial Stadium this afternoon.

Although she was planning on coming out to New Zealand to watch her father compete, she only got the call to become part of the team after a late withdrawal two weeks ago.

“I work as a woolhandler in a slaughterhouse at the moment but I have never been in a competition before and now I am at the World Shearing championships. I was shaking when I started my round this afternoon but I just had to ignore all the people watching and try to forget my nerves.”

A special moment for the Perry’s has been being able to share the experience together as a father and daughter team.

“It is pretty big deal being down here and part of such a huge contest and doing it with my dad. It is a memory we will always have,” said Emily.


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