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A New Fagan In Shearing's Limelight

New New Zealand Shears Novice champion Sean Fagan (left), grandfather and inaugural 198 championships' Open final winner John Fagan (centre), and Sean's dad, John's son Neil. Photo / SSNZ

The shearing sports have saluted the emergence of the next generation of Fagan champions with a win by 16-year-old Sean Fagan in the Novice shearing final on the second day of the New Zealand Shears in hometown Te Kuiti today.

On hand to witness the achievement in Te Kuiti’s Les Munro Centre was grandfather John Fagan who won the shears’ first Open final when the event was established as the King Country Shears in 1985, a year after winning the Golden Shears Open final in Masterton.

Also in the crowd were John’s brother, shearing legend Sir David Fagan, who won the Open final 17 times, victorious shearer’s father and Te Kuiti shearing contractor Neil Fagan, his brother former national team member and Open-class shearer James Fagan, and cousin and Open-class shearer Jack Fagan, winner of the NZ Shears Speed Shear on Thursday night.

Before the mid-afternoon final, John Fagan said he couldn’t been prouder than to see the grandson make it from the field of 24 to the six set to shear two sheep each in the final.

Aged 26 when he first shore in competition and 34 when he won at the Golden Shears, he was the first in a family of multi-generation farmers to take up shearing, and one of the first to start following the competitions all over the country.

“I just loved it,” he said.

The money wasn’t the issue, he said, but there was more than a hint that the camaraderie and social nature of the game had a fair bit to do it with it with all bets off when it came to the moments on the competition board. “I just wanted to kill my mates,” he said.

He said after the final he was most impressed to see the young shearers learning shear with quality first, and to see his grandson already committed to shearing.

Neil was beaming as he welcomed his son’s addition to the honour’s board, with confirmation “he’s got the bug” – the uniqueness of the shearing fraternity to have universal passion for the sport, the woolsheds and the industry, despite what townies might think of the sheepshit, pizzles and sweat that go along with the job.

Just out of school and now in the woolsheds fultime, woolpressing, yet to do a full day shearing, and mixing it with shepherding, Sean Fagan has shorn in six competitions since making his debut at the historic Aria Waitangi Day Sports nine weeks ago, and proclaims he nw “committed” to shearing..

He logged-up two wins along the way and while “still nervous” with big moccasins to fill in front in front of the clan’s shearing elite was well primed to win again - showing that while keeping a good rein on the quality he could still show potential for the speed which turned John and David Fagan not only into champions, but also World Record-breakers.

He shore the two sheep in 5min 10.1sec, beaten to the finish only by first-time finalist Logan Blackburn, of Tikokino, who clocked 4min 45.67sec.

When all points were counted, Fagan had won by just 0.769pts from Northland shearer Tessa Berger, of Ahuroa, who took 8min 15.48sec but closed the game in the final count with markedly the best quality points.

“I just wanted to keep my job up (to standard),” said Fagan.

He admits he’s “desperate” to get out of woolpressing and get a stand on the shearing board, and when times allow to start the travelling which made his near-forebears international names in the shearing World.

The Novice final was the first and only shearing final of the daytime sessions of the second day, with Junior and Intermediate finals to be shorn in the evening, along with the Women’s final, and the North Island Shearer of the Year final, the first of a unique four Open titles to be decided at the 2021 championships.

RESULTS from the second day of the New Zealand Shears shearing and woolhandling championships being held in Te Kuiti on April 8-10, 2021:

Shearing

Novice final (2 sheep): Sean Fagan (Te Kuiti) 5mn 10.1sec, 30.505pts, 1; Tessa Berger (Ahuroa) 8min 15.48sec, 31.274pts, 2; Harry Smith (Tikokino) 6muin 12.88sec, 32.144pts, 3; Cameron Artz (Raetihi) 5min 58.49sec, 35.425pts, 4; Logan Blackburn (Tikokino) 4min 54.67src, 36.724pts, 5; Casey Fergus (Cambridge) 9min 5-.94sec, 44.047pts, 6

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