A chat with Ian Jones of Wales

Ian Jones the Welsh National Champion has made it to Southland to prepare for the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships.

He earned his spot in the team by being crowned Champion Shearer of Wales at the Royal Welsh Show in August. Having previously come close to winning the competition before, it was his first national title, leading to his first trip to a World Championship.

We chatted with Ian at the New Zealand Crossbred Lamb Shearing Championships in Winton on Saturday and found that while may not have done much shearing recently, he is no stranger to this part of the world.

Q. Ian, welcome to New Zealand. You've just arrived, how's the jetlag?

A. Yeah, it's not bad. Had a good night's sleep last night and had a few beers, so it's alright.

Q. Tell us about the flight out. How did you get here and how long did it take?

A. Oh, I came via Dubai. I left home on Tuesday night and I got here Friday morning so it was three days inside airports and going on buses and taxis so it was a long way.

Q. What's the plan leading in to World Champs for you?

A. I'm working for Darin Forde now right up to the World Champs. That's the plan. I haven't shorn here for a while so it will be good to get back with a handpiece in my hand to be honest.

Q. So you've had a bit of a break from shearing over Christmas?

A. Well, I'm a farmer full-time and shearing, to be honest, is my hobby so I haven't shorn a sheep since the middle of August.

Q. So, you won the Welsh National title and then hung it up?

A. Yeah (laughs). I was lucky enough to have a good shear on that day and I was lucky to qualify so we'll just see how it goes really.

Q. First World Champs then?

A. Yes, first World Champs for me … and probably the last. I'm probably going to retire now in 12 months to concentrate on farming and look after the kids so it should be good.

Q. Bit of a balancing act isn't it, because farming is what pays the bills?

A. Well, my father worked hard for me to be a good farmer at home so it's good not to chuck it away after what he's done for me.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the operation back home.

A. We farm sheep and cows. We've got 2,500 ewes and I'm lucky because all the ground is owned. It's right in mid-Wales.

Q. And for you expectation wise, turning to World Champs, what's your thinking there?

A. Well I am coming with a lot of expectations, I'm just going to get loose now for the next two weeks and just see how it goes. You never know on the day. If I can have a good run of sheep and get my combs going well you never know. I'm capable of making the final but whether I will is a different thing.

Q. Have you got much experience on these big strong Romney fleeces that you are going to be dealing with?

A. Yep, this is my fifth trip to New Zealand. I haven't been for 10 years but I've been here and shorn a lot of Romneys over the years so it shouldn't take a while to get back in to it.

Q. Nice mate, well good luck for it and we look forward to catching up

A. Thank you very much. Cheers.


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