The names behind World Champs

What a ride! Now that the fleeces have settled on the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, it's our first chance to take a breath and look back at an amazing last ten days.

I jumped on board in November, to help with the final lead-in to what had already been a three-year labour of love for an Organising Committee that had given up a massive chuck of their lives in an effort to deliver the best World Championships ever. I don't think there's any debate that they succeeded … and then some.

In Tom Wilson and Jude McNab (Chairman and Event Manager respectively), the event had two of the most committed people I have ever worked with. Nothing was ever a problem and the times of day (or more accurately morning) that I would get responses to emails, told me a lot about how much they personally invested in this event.

The committee they led included Sir David Fagan, John Fagan, Gavin Rowland, Warren Parker, Andrew Lambie and Michael Hogan. I'm confident in saying that you couldn't put together a more experienced group to oversee a World Championship.

Their best skill, putting the best people into key roles and letting them get on with it.

In Paul Harris and Peter Lange they had two Chief Referees who did an exemplary job of making sure by week's end, no one had mentioned the judging – the ultimate sign of a job well done.

Alan MacDonald and Dion Morrell were two of the most-important men in these Championships. The work these two put in leading in to the Championships to select World Championship-worthy lines of sheep from our three farms (the Robertson, Peters and Marshall families) was incredible. Their aim was to make sure by Championships' end we had found the best shearers and woolhandlers, not the luckiest. Nailed it fellas!

Bruce Walker, Ken Payne and their merry band of helpers did an incredible job in erecting the shearing stand and pens. These men worked like Trojans, after four full days delivering the Balclutha Shears, they were back at it by 7am on the Sunday before World Champs, dis-assembling the stand at the Balclutha War Memorial Hall, loading it onto trucks, hauling it to Invercargill and having it all but back up again by 4pm that afternoon. They hardly had to even touch a skill-saw!

ILT Stadium Southland is a world-class venue. But watching them work behind the scenes to put the facility's best foot forward every day was something to behold. It took them 47 minutes to prepare the main arena for the corporate tables on Friday night and on Saturday, because of demand, a late decision was made to bring in another stand to get as many punters in to see the finale. This would have been a logistical nightmare anywhere else but Nigel Skelt, Ryan Sycamore, Laura Morrison and their whole team made it happen. You could not have asked for more.

Then there are our army of volunteers who spent four long days making sure everyone and everything got in the right place, when it needed to. You are stars, every one of you. It's not the most glamourous job, sometimes you don't even get to see the action, but it's vital to the smooth running of the event. Special mention to our resident shearers and woolhandlers along with Lance, Raelene and all of the team working the results. It's an understatement to say these are some of the most important job. Faultless work by you all.

From our Media team's perspective, I was lucky enough to have the hardest working people in the business alongside me. Doug Laing, Shearing Sport New Zealand's Media Officer was as prolific as ever. I am surprised his keyboard held up for the week. Our event photographer Pete Nikolaison covered more miles than anyone during the week. His off-sider Katie Grantham would process the photos and before the next event had begun they'd be online and all over the world. Cody Sayer spent the week camped in a little glass box upstairs in the Media Centre. Sure, it wasn't a bad view, but mate, you were a rockstar. He's the reason so many of you were able to get full results, video and images via our website and social media during the week so quickly. Thanks so much team.

This morning the weekly reach for our Facebook and Twitter pushed over 1,000,000. That is a crazy number!

We are still collating numbers but tens of thousands tuned in to our livestream, website traffic went through the roof, we were featured all week on both TV news bulletins, Seven Sharp and Breakfast on TVOne for a morning.

NZME's The Country and Muster radio shows were live from the Stadium, Radio Sport was constantly on the phone, the BBC even gave us a call on Saturday morning. Radio NZ was on-site capturing the action for Morning Report and upcoming special features.

Shearing grabbed headlines all week and was front page news in The Southland Times and Otago Daily Times, Farmers Weekly and Country-Wide and it was truly everywhere online. We constantly received requests for photos and footage from around the globe, including Reuters International, a whole host of UK publications and Falkland Islands TV.

We had 80 accredited media, including Aled, Meinir and Emyr from Wales who were shooting a full production for back home on the Welsh team. We can't thank you all enough for your support of the event and showcasing the sport and the athletes in all their glory to the world.

How good were our commentary crew! Norm, Huw, John, Gwynn, Jack and friends great work. I know you gave it everything and standing beside the stage as the World Machine Shearing final came to a close is something I will never forget.

And then there's my mate Ingrid from Kinetic Media. It was an off-hand conversation with her that saw me sit down with Jude and Tom in early November that got me on this ride. You and your crew are the best fun to work with. We had some of the best in the business behind the camera and in the field during the week. You will have seen the results of their work from the live-stream and website footage and the big-screen feeds.

Without building it up too much, when their hour-long special airs on Maori Television in a couple of weeks, it will be like nothing the sport has ever seen before. Love your work guys.

Even though you try and tell them individually, more often than not, a long list like the one above never sees the light of day.

Throughout the week, and for months (in some cases years) beforehand, they all gave so much to deliver a World Championship with the aim of making it as enjoyable as possible to compete in, spectate, or follow from afar. They didn't do it for recognition, but after seeing what they all put in, I think you should know their names.

Congratulations team and thank you. From all of us.

Nick Jeffrey
Media & Marketing Manager


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