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Keeping The Shearing Competitions Alive In Northland - In Their 70s

The challenge is out for all shearers anywhere near Northland to get to Broadwood for next weekend’s North Hokianga A and P Show shearing championships after two farmers heading towards the age of 80 shore in finals to help make up the numbers at Arapohue on Saturday.

Ralph Smith, 76, was third in the Northern Wairoa A and P Show’s annual Open final won, by fellow local Neville Osborne, and Jim Comrie, 79, shore in the Intermediate event won by Ben Nilsson, with 65-year-old Rex Finlayson the runner-up.

Organiser Kevin Boyd,72, said the grades are struggling to get numbers in the Northland shows, with the continuing impact amid the decline in sheep numbers in the region and the growing of “too many” trees.

“We used to get 25-27 competitors at the shows up here” he said.

Close to 20 have competed in at least one show in Northland this summer in addition to those who turn-up for the veterans events but end-up also shearing in the grades to provide both some opposition for younger shearers, and shearing for the spectators.

Boyd would love to see them all competing at one show together, although some are taking on bigger challenges at other competitions further afield in the build-up to the Golden Shears in Masterton on February 29-March 2.

Saturday’s show at Broadwood, about 140km northwest of Whangarei, will be the first of two shows on consecutive days in the upper North Island, being followed on Sunday by the Counties Shears, about four hours’ drive away in Pukekohe.

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Elsewhere, the Southern Shears shearing and woolhandling championships are being held in Gore on Friday and Saturday, and the Ohura A and shears, in Forgotten World Highway territory between Stratford and Taumarunui, will be held on Saturday, incorporating woolhandling competition for the first time.

RESULTS from the Northern Wairoa A and P Arapohue Show Shears on Saturday, February 10, 2024:

Open final: Neville Osborne (Dargaville) 65.51pts, 1; Andy Deverall (Tauranga/England) 65.67pts, 2; Ralph Smith (Dargaville) 85.55pts, 3.

Senior: Tommy Stevenson (Dargaville) 48.45pts 1; Michael Boyd (Dargaville) 51.65pts, 2; Lee Cheyne (Te Kauwhata) 53.9pts, 3.

Intermediate: Ben Nilsson (-) 38.14pts, 1; Rex Finlayson (Kai Iwi Lakes) 39.27pts, 2; Jim Comrie (Dargaville) 49.16pts, 3.

Junior: Paul Finlayson (Kai Iwi Lakes) 33.65pts, 1.

Novice: Lydia Wood Ruawai) 30.2pts, 1; Brianna McBride (-) 52.8pts, 2.

Veterans: Mike Henderson (Kaiwaka) 18.39pts, 1; Ralph Smith (Dargaville) 20.16pts, 2; Lee Cheyne (Te Kauwhata) 53.9pts, 3.

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