57th Golden Shears underway

The best shearers, woolhandlers and pressers have started gathering in Masterton for the 57th Golden Shears International Shearing Championships.

The three-day Golden Shears started this morning, with more than 20 events to be decided, including the glamour Golden Shears Open shearing and woolhandling titles on Saturday night and Trans-Tasman woolhandling and shearing tests on Friday and Saturday nights respectively.

The event will feature a quintet of newly-crowned World champions, including Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick and Invercargill's Nathan Stratford, who face-up to defending Golden Shears Open champion Rowland Smith, of Hastings, in the Open Shearing and woolhandlers Joel Henare and Mary-Anne Baty, both of Gisborne.

Competition will take place in the Open, Senior, Intermediate, Junior and Novice Shearing grades, the Open, Senior, Junior and Novice woolhandling grades, and men's women's, and pairs woolpressing.

As well as the Trans-Tasman test matches, there are also the PGG Wrightson National Shearing Championship final (the country's premier multi-breeds shearing event), a Speedshear, a traditional Maori-Pakeha teams shearing, YFC events dating back to the shears' earliest days, and a triathlon – the combined points of competitors prepared to have a go at all three disciplines of shearing, woolhandling and pressing.

Two titles will be decided on today's opening day. Competition got under way at 7.45am with the Novice woolhandling heats, the final of which will be the first event decided later today. The heats of the Novice shearing were also be held this morning, leading to the second final of the championships later in the day.

The programme during the day will also include Senior woolhandling heats, Junior and Intermediate shearing heats and the men's woolpressing.

Tonight's evening programme will feature a Speedshear, for Senior and Open-class shearers and starts at 6.30pm.


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