Bladies cut a track for Reefton Shears

A mini unofficial World championship is in the offing for the Reefton Shears on Saturday as some of the best in the ancient craft of wool clipping sharpen the blades ahead of official event in Invercargill next week.

Among those expected is defending World champion Mayenzeke Shweni, pictured at Errowanbang, Australia, in 2014.

While defending Reefton bladeshearing champion and leading New Zealand World Championships hope Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, is unable to be present, organiser Sam Win understands that along with Shweni and South African teammate and World two-stand bladeshearing record holder Bangani Joel, others expected to compete include Ireland representative Peter Heraty and second New Zealand representative Phil Oldfield.

The shears, a prominent part of the Inangahua A and P Show at the Reefton Racecourse, are expected to attract about half of the 27 bladeshearers who are among 116 competitors from 32 countries for the 40th anniversary World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill's ILT'Stadium Southland on next Wednesday to Saturday (February 8-11).

Of the 60 shows on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar during the season from the end of September to Easter in mid-April, Reefton is one of nine to include bladeshearing, and offers the only competition opportunity for competitors in New Zealand ahead of the championships

Reefton will also feature machine shearing, on lambs, in the Open, Senior, Intermediate and Junior classes.

Mr Win, of Ikamatua, said bladeshearing entries at Reefton usually total about eight, but, while nothing is certain until the day, he's making arrangements to cope with more than 20 this year.

The machine-shearing event at Reefton has had an unusual recent history in that it has been won four times in the last five years by competitors from overseas, including defending champion and New Zealand-based Australian shearer Peter Berkelaar.

Shearing at Reefton starts at 9.30am on Saturday.

Article and image courtesy of Shearing Sports New Zealand.


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