Big Entries For Spring Shear In Waimate
More than 170 shearers and woolhandlers are expected in South Canterbury town Waimate for the first event on the New Zealand shearing sports season on Friday and Saturday.
The 53rd Waimate Shears New Zealand Spring Shearing Championships is one of the first major events on the rural sports and shows calendar since the Covid-19 lockdown.
It will include both the first and second rounds of Open shearing’s National Circuit McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown series, the resurrection of the New Zealand Open and Senior winter comb titles and for the first time the South Island Woolhandling Circuit finals.
The inclusion of the winter comb and woolhandling circuit means 17 individual titles will be decided, including the Friday-night wooolhandling Fleece Throw, cleanshear and seed shear events, and the regular competition in five machine-shearing grades, two in blade shearing, and three in woolhandling.
Most of New Zealand’s top competitors have entered, including several current or former World champions.
Friday’s heats of the Winter Comb Open Championship, which was last shorn at Omarama in 2009, will incorporate the finewool first round of the national circuit, keeping the circuit going for a 48th year and filling a gap left by the decision not to hold traditional season-opener the New Zealand Merino championships this year, one of several cancelled because of the Covid crisis.
The heats of the Waimate Spring Shears Open championship on Saturday, on long strongwool, will comprise the second round, with further rounds at the Canterbury Shears’ New Zealand Corriedale Shearing and Woolhandling Championships next month, and the Rangitikei Shearing Sports and the Pahiatua Shears in February. The final will be shorn at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March.
By today the Winter Comb Open competition had attracted 46 entries, and the Waimate Shears Open shearing a capacity 48 entries.
The national circuit had 32 entries, impressing circuit stalwart and Golden Shears representative Philip Morrison, who said the number of entries had rarely exceeded 30.
The numbers mean that busy programmes of more than 12 hours on each day are in store for Waimate Shears president and chairman Warren White, his committee, judges, and stadium staff, with start times of 7am on Friday and 7.30am on Saturday. Further details are on the facebook page Waimate Shears NZ Spring Shearing Competition.
Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan said that with the Covid crisis leading to the cancellation of several shows and competitions at the end of last season and pre-Christmas in the new season entries at Waimate “just show that everyone just wants to get out there and compete.”
“Given all the difficulties, which most people planning events of any sort throughout New Zealand are facing, the Waimate Shears committee has done an incredible job getting this all together,” he said.
The programme of events is:
7am: Senior Winter Comb heats, Open Winter Comb heats, Senior Winter Comb semi-finals, Open Winter Comb semi-finals, Senior Winter Comb finals, Open Winter Comb finals.
After lunch: Open Woolhandling heats, Senior Woolhandling heats, Junior Woolhandling heats, Teams heats, Open Woolhandling semi-finals, Senior Woolhandling semi-finals, Junior Woolhandling semi-finals.
6pm: Fleece Throw, Junior/Intermediate Clean Shear, Senior Speed Shear, Open Speed Shear.
7.30am: Novice Machine Shearing heats, Junior Machine Shearing heats, Intermediate Machine Shearing heats, Senior Machine Shearing heats, Open Machine Shearing heats, Junior Machine semi-finals, Intermediate Machine semi-finals, Senior Machine semi-finals, Open Machine semi-finals.
After lunch: Junior Woolhandling Final, Senior Woolhandling Final, Open Woolhandling Final, Teams Final, Junior South Island Woolhandling Circuit Final, Senior South Island Woolhandling Circuit Final, Open South Island Woolhandling Circuit Final, Father & son, Intermediate Blade Shearing, Open Blade Shearing heats, Open Blade final.
6pm: Novice Machine final, Junior Machine final, Intermediate Machine final, Senior Machine final, Open Machine Novice Shearing, Open Machine final.