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Overcoming The Jinx - Rimene Wins Otago Woolhandling Crown

It was one for the bucket list as Alexandra woolhandler Pagan Rimene won major crown the Otago Shears’ New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year Open title on Saturday.

It was her 10th time in the final since 2011, but her first win, after being runner-up to prolific winner Joel Henare six times in a row from 2016 to 2021.

This time it was Henare, the winner of 137 Open finals, including two World individual titles, who had to settle for second placing, as Rimene scored the 34th win of her career.

A World teams champion in 2019 and winner of the New Zealand Shears Open final in Te Kuiti in 2021, she has won seven of the eight Shearing Sports New Zealand national title events at least once each.

The only one that has eluded her is the Golden Shears Open title, which she’ll be chasing in Masterton on February 29-March 2, having been a finalist three times, for third in 2017 and second-placing in both 2018 and 2020, Henare having won on all three occasions.

Claiming a winning advantage mainly on time points, Rimene reckons she’d gone into Saturday’s event in the Carter Estate woolshed at Te Houka, near Balclutha, less prepared than ever, and said: “I’m so happy. It’s the one year I didn’t train like mad.”

In a final of four woolhandlers, from an original field of 17, Cushla Abraham, of Masterton, was third and fourth place went to Tina Elers, of Mataura.

The Senior final was won by Sarah Davis, from Rerewhakaaitu, near Rotorua, and the Junior final was won by Kelly Barrett, from Kawhia.

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Meanwhile, less than a tenth of a point decided the winner of the six-man Open shearing final, with 2020 and 2021 winner Leon Samuels, of Roxburgh, regaining the title from defending champion Toa Henderson.

The six-man final proved a true north-south match with Northland gun Henderson first to finish for a fifth consecutive time in 20-sheep finals in a fortnight, including wins at Taihape, Marton and Aria in the central North Island, and Samuels next-off 15 seconds later.

Henderson clocked 16min 57.03sec as both finished a full sheep ahead of each of the remaining finalists.

A cleaner job on the board did it for Samuels, while Southland gun and three-times winner Nathan Stratford had the trademark best quality points overall but still had to settle for third.

Hawke’s Bay shearer Bruce Grace, the No 1-ranked Intermediate shearer nationwide last season, in which he won the New Zealand Shears Intermediate final in Te Kuiti, had his second Senior win in five days, having shorn nine finals before his first win at Aria last Tuesday

Emma Martin, of Gore, had her seventh win of the season in the Intermediate final, and Irish shearer Paddy Dunne had his third Junior win, in a final which also featured two from Australia. Both of the lower-grade finals had four shears from overseas.

The Shears, which attracted 122 entries, comprising 77 in the four shearing grades and 45 in the three woolhandling classes, is the first event in an unofficial Grand Slam identified almost 50 years ago by champion shearer Roger Cox as a pathway for those dreaming of winning the Golden Shears Open shearing final.

In 1977, he won at the Otago championships, the Southern Shears in Gore, the Pahiatua Shears, and the first of his three Golden Shears Open titles. The last time all four Open shearing finals were won by Hawke’s Bay shearer and reigning Golden Shears champion Roland Smith in 2018.

Results from the Otago Shears shearing and woolhandling championships at Carter Estate Woolshed, Te Houka, Balclutha, on Saturday, February 10, 2024:

Shearing

Open final (20 sheep): Leon Samuels (Roxburgh) 17min 12.09sec, 57.9545pts, 1; Toa Henderson (Kaiwaka) 16min 57.03sec, 58.0515pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 18min 25.78sec, 60.339pts, 3; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 18min 15.25sec, 61.3125pts, 4; Casey Bailey (Riverton) 18min 31.87sec, 61.4935pts, 5; Corey Palmer (Dipton) 18min 27.34sec, 61.617pts, 6.

Senior final (12 sheep): Bruce Grace (Wairoa/Napier) 14min 21.97sec, 50.2652pts, 1; Nathan Bee (Invercargill) 15min 16.47sec, 52.0735pts, 2; Dre Roberts (Mataura) 15min 2.97sec, 52.2318pts, 3; Blake Crooks (Rangiora) 15min 32.81sec, 52.3905pts, 4; Jack Pringle (Balclutha) 15min 22.53sec, 55.3765pts, 5; Jimmy Napier (Gore) 17min 55.96sec, 58.9647pts, 6.

Intermediate final (5 sheep): Emma Martin (Gore) 7min 37.53sec, 28.6765pts, 1; Julian Karl (Germany) 7min 30.22sec, 30.311pts, 2; Cody Waihape (Gore) 7min 39.31sec, 30.9655pts, 3; Dylan Lowe (Urrbrae, South Australia) 7min 33.37sec, 31.8685pts, 4; Ethan Galatly (Woodvale, West Australia) 7min 53.81sec, 34.8905pts, 5; Emily Spencer (Perth, Tasmania) 8min 19.19sec, 39.1595pts, 6.

Junior final (4 sheep): Paddy Dunne (Wicklow, Ireland) 7min 22.56sec, 28.878pts, 1; Grace Schoff (Chinchilla, Queensland) 8min 51.56sec, 32.078pts, 2; Lea Brabant (Germany/Balclutha) 9min 8.31sec, 32.1655pts, 3; Jet Schimanski (Gore) 7min 7.31sec, 34.8655pts, 4; James Hogan (Invercargill) 8min 29.97sec, 37.2485pts, 5; Charlie Baker (Kingscote, South Australia) 9min 19.06sec, 43.203pts, 6.

Woolhandling:

Open final: Pagan Rimene (Alexandra) 96.84pts, 1; Joel Henare (Gisborne) 108.97pts, 2; Cushla Abraham (Masterton) 165.53pts, 3; Tina Elers (Mataura) 186.34pts, 4.

Senior final: Sarah Davis (Rerewhakaaitu) 109.894pts, 1; Autumn Hiri (Gore) 152.186pts, 2; Saskia Tuhakaraina (Gore) 164.632prs, 3; Emma Martin (Gore) 235.862pts, 4.

Junior final: Kelly Barrett (Kawhia) 140.09pts, 1; Lea Brabant (Germany/Balclutha) 145.56pts, 2; Lucy Elers (Mataura) 207.75pts, 3; Te Aroha Little (Balclutha) 223.34pts, 4.

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