Shearing champs labour of love falling into place

"Imagine the biggest roller coaster in the world and being on it."

That is how World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships organising committee chairman Tom Wilson describes preparing for the event in Invercargill next week.''Some things have happened easily and the next minute you've got to really dig in with something a bit more challenging. ''It is a bit of a labour of love but you work through it. Everything's falling into place,'' he said.

Mr Wilson, shearing great Sir David Fagan and Gavin Rowland, from Shearing Sports New Zealand, made the bid at the previous world championships in 2014 to hold the 2017 event in New Zealand. The bid was successful and planning began in earnest for the championships which will be held at the ILT Stadium Southland on February 8-11. The championships have a 40-year history, dating back to when they were first held at Bath and West in England in 1977.Mr Wilson's involvement stretches nearly as far, contesting his first world championships in Masterton in 1980.

The Scottish shearer finished third overall on debut and then became the first non-New Zealander to win a world title in England in 1984.

He teamed up with George Bayne to win the team championship in 1996 and was a member of the organising committee for the 2003 world championships in Edinburgh.

Once this year's championships were secured, it had been a matter of ''putting the pieces together'' ever since and a lot of hard work and commitment had gone into it.''Imagine the biggest roller-coaster in the world and being on it, that's what it's been like ... everybody's got a job to do, we're all getting on with it,'' he said. Mr Wilson was thrilled with the support for the event, both from competitors and the public.

In the all-nations event, held before the championships, there were probably about 400 entries across all grades which was ''phenomenal''.

Read full article in the Otago Daily Times by clicking here.


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