Big Shearing Sports Weekend
Shearing sports North to South - Kaikohe, Wairoa, Takaka, Lumsden, Winton
Six leading hopes for Open titles at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March have each got their new year under way confidently with wins in one of the busiest weekends on the shearing sports calendar.
Five competitions were held from Kaikohe in the north to Winton in the south with the performances headed by farmer, shearer and six-times Golden Shears Open finalist David Buick who ventured from remote Pongaroa in northern Wairarapa to claim a national-titles double in Southland.
He won his first Northern Southland Community Shears national longwool championship in a woolshed near Lumsden on Friday and a third consecutive Southland Shears national crossbred lamb shearing title at the Winton A and P Show on Saturday. He has now won five finals this season.
Possibly the most remarkable was that of 2014 World champion and defending seven-times Golden Shears Open champion Rowland Smith, of Maraekakaho, who won the Wairoa A and P Show’s Open title for a 6th time despite an unscheduled handpiece change after a sheep kicked the gear clear and broke a comb tooth during the final.
He still managed to beat 2017 World champion and four-times Golden Shears champion John Kirkpatrick, of Pakipaki, both in the race over the 20 sheep each and on the ultimate decider – the points.
Two-times Golden Open finalist Troy Pyper travelled five hours from Cheviot to Takaka to win the Golden Bay A and P Show title, and Northland gun Toa Henderson, yet to make the Golden Shears final, won the Kaikohe A.P. and H. Show final.
Top woolhandlers were also in on the act, featured by a popular and long-overdue victory for Southlander Chelsea Collie in the Open woolhandling final in Lumsden.
Despite reaching many finals over the years, Collier, 33, hadn’t won since victory in her first Open-grade final in Balclutha in 2005, a New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year title that won her a place in the 2005-2006 New Zealand transtasman series team.
From Ohai, now based in Hamilton and working the current season in Masterton, she had been third at Waimate and Hawke’s Bay earlier in the season, in 2019 she reached both the Golden Shears and New Zealand Championships Open finals, and the previous season she was runner-up in two national title events.
It was a return to the script 24 hours later when 2019 World teams champion Pagan Karauria successfully defended the lambs title in Winton with her 6th win in the event.
Another big winner during the weekend was Masterton shearer Adam Gordon who also ventured to the south to win the Intermediate finals at both Lumsden and Winton, his 3rd and 4th national titles this season.
Aged just 20, and the winner of the Golden Shears Novice shearing and woolhandling finals just two years ago, and the No 1-ranked Junior shearer nationally last season, Gordon has this season also won Intermediate titles at the New Zealand Spring championships in Waimate in October and the New Zealand Corriedale championships in a woolshed near Hanmer in November.
He has more wins this season than any other competitor, being beaten just once in 8 finals.
The season, cut from about 60 competitions to 49 amid the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and also sheep-supply issues, continues on Saturday with the Tapawera Sports Shears south of Nelson, and the Horowhenua A.P. and I. Show shears in Levin on Sunday, with all eyes on the Golden Shears in Masterton on March4-6 and the season-ending New Zealand championships in Te Kuiti on April 8-10.