International Teams line up for World Shearing Champs 2017

The United States team is expecting fierce competition when it, along with up to thirty other teams, heads to New Zealand for the Golden Shears World Shearing and Wool Handling Championships in February.

Eighteen teams are already confirmed for the event to be held in Invercargill at ILT Stadium Southland from February 9-11, including Mongolia, England, Switzerland, South Africa, and Japan.

Organising committee chairman Tom Wilson said he was delighted with the number of teams entered to date, with more to come soon as team selections in various countries take place over the next few months.

The New Zealand team will be selected at the Canterbury A&P Show in November, with the Australian team likely to be selected in October, Wilson said.

USA team manager Loren Opstedahl said the team was excited at the opportunity to compete in New Zealand.

"We've got a diverse team from all across the US," he said.

Shearers and wool handlers from South Dakota, Iowa, Montana and Maryland made up the US team.

Opstedahl said they can't wait to get to New Zealand.

"There's going to be pretty nice weather that time of year I hear. The competition is pretty fierce. We feel like we have a good team coming."

Wilson encouraged people to get in early to buy tickets for what will be an edge of the seat viewing experience.

"It's amazing with all the different languages and cultures coming together at a World Championship event."

For competitors it was a wonderful opportunity to mix with colleagues from all around the world and find out more about how the shearing and wool handling industries operated in their respective countries, he said.

The path to the World Championships involved long hours of training and competition, Wilson said.

"Everybody there understands the pain you have to go through to get there."

Ticket sales were going very well and there was likely be a good spread of Kiwis, Australians and visitors from many other countries taking in the action, Wilson said.

February was an ideal time to travel to New Zealand for northern hemisphere visitors in search of a winter break and some scorching shearing action, he said.

The event follows soon after the Chinese New Year and Wilson said organisers were looking forward to welcoming a significant number of Chinese visitors.

For more information contact: Tom Wilson 027 433 6093


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