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Media Releases April 2014

Big day out for shearing in Auckland - April 24, 2014

It was a big day out for the veterans as 17 lined-up for the annual feature of the Easter Show's Northern Shears which had modern-day record crowds at the weekend.

Over 130,000 people went through the gates during the four days of the show, and shears organiser Neil Sidwell said the shears benefitted with the biggest crowds he could remember ever watching the event.

With the starting age for the veterans event lowered to 50, almost all the judges competed, with victory going to Russell Knight, of Apiti, with a clear victory in the final over northerners Jeff Wood, Sidwell, Rusty Campbell and Phillip Woodward.

The Junior and Intermediate grades also drew good entries, with 11 competitors having been brought from Gisborne by contractor Deano Smith, who was one of 12 in the Open heats.

The Australian Indigenous team of Frankie Atkinson, Roger Mifsud (manager) and Dusty Stubna, pictured at the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti. The team shore the last match of a trailblazing New Zealand visit at the Easter Show in Auckland
The entries were a big confidence-booster to Mr Sidwell who had at one stage worried that he might have had a competition with plenty of sheep and plenty of prizemoney but precious few shearers, with the late season-finale coming three weeks after the last previous North Island event, the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti.

Home teams won the two shearing matches, with Kaeo brothers Charlie and Marshall Guy beating the Indigenous Australia team of Dusty Stubna and Frankie Atkinson, and Northland's team of Neville Osborne and Doug Smith beating the Warrnambool selection of Atkinson and evergreen transtasman traveller Roger Mifsud.

NZ World Champs hopes on top as season ends downunder - April 21, 2014

New Zealand's hopes for the shearing titles at the Golden Shears World Championships in Ireland next month wrapped up their home season in triumphant form over the Easter weekend. Machine shearers Rowland Smith, of Hastings, and John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, were first and second respectively in the Open final at the Easter Show in Auckland on Saturday, while 1200km away in the South Island Blades representatives Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Mike McConnell, were first and second in the Blades final at the MacKenzie Shears.

They were the last two competitions of the Shearing Sports New Zealand season, with a month to the 16th World Championships in Gorey, Co Wexford, where New Zealand will also be represented by woolhandlers Joel Henare, of Gisborne, and Ronnie Goss, of Kimbolton, on May 22-25.

There was a particularly memorable moment in Auckland where Dean Herlihy, Darren Alexander and Craig Herlihy were first, second and third in the Senior final � all from Whangamomona. The Intermediate final provided the fourth win of the season for Kaeo teenager Marshall Guy, while Kaleb Foote, of Waikaretu, followed a string of late-season minor placings, including fourth at the New Zealand championships, by scoring his maiden victory with a win in the Junior final.

Missing-out on the Open final in Auckland, multiple World, Golden Shears and New Zealand Opens champion David Fagan, of Te Kuiti, flew south to complete his 33rd Open-class season with second in the MacKenzie Shears machine shearing final, won by Tony Coster, of Rakaia.

Who were the top-ranked shearers and woolhandlers in 2013-2014? - April 14, 2014

Napier shearer John Kirkpatrick extended his record as Shearing Sports New Zealand's top-ranked Open shearer to eight seasons as he relentlessly chased the shows and ribbons throughout the country during the 2013-2014 summer.

Kirkpatrick shore 26 finals at 22 venues from Winton in the south to Kumeu in the north from the start of the season in Alexandra in October to the New Zealand championships at the end of last month.

But he won just six, with 12 second-placings including being runner-up nine times to fellow Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith, whose 11 wins in 17 finals included pipping Kirkpatrick for the second year in a row in the Golden Shears in Masterton and the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti.

Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Gain Rowland with the rankings winners for 2013-2014

The number of events contested by Kirkpatrick enabled him to comfortably win the Bowen Trophy for a ninth time - every year since 2007 and previously in 2002, when he ended legendary King Country shearer David Fagan's run of 12 consecutive Golden Shears Open victories.

With points awarded for placings in the finals, a maximum of 12 in an A-grade event, 8 in a B-grade event, and 6 in a C-grade event, Kirkpatrick finished with 261pts, Smith was second with 170pts, and Fagan, at the age of 52 and 30 years after his first Golden Shears Open final, was still in the running with 160pts, contesting 19 finals and winning six.

There were 61 finals, shared among 20 winners, including three events won by shearers from overseas - the New Zealand Merino title in Alexandra won by Australian Damian Boyle for a fourth time, Welsh team member Richard Jones winning the Reefton A and P title for a second time, and World champion, Whangamomona farmer and Scots shearer Gavin Mutch winning the Taranaki Open final.

Masterton-based Riverton shearer Casey Bailey was the top-ranked Senior, winning all 13 of the 15 competitions he entered. He won 10 in a row before being beaten twice by Southlander Brett Roberts, including in the Golden Shears final. Bailey bounced back to win his last three finals, including beating Roberts at the New Zealand Championships.

There was particularly popular acclaim for Intermediate rankings winner Catherine Mullooly, of Matawai, who won seven of the 17 finals she contested, although she had to settle for the minor money in both the Golden Shears and New Zealand Championships finals.

Josh Balme from Te Kuiti but boarding at High School in Hamilton, was the top-ranked Junior shearer, also having to settle for the minor placings in the Golden Shears and NZ Championships finals, but winning seven of the other 14 he reached, all since mid-January.

World and Golden Shears champion Joel Henare, from Gisborne and aged just 22, regained the top Open woolhandling ranking, having claimed the honour three times as a teenager. He entered 21 events this season, winning 12 of his 19 finals, but missing out on the New Zealand Championships final in Te Kuiti.

His form dislodged Te Awamutu's Keryn Herbert who had been No 1 ranked Open woolhandler for the previous three years. Her six wins during the season included the New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year final in Balclutha and the Southern Shears final a week later in Gore, but she finished the season still to win a Golden Shears or New Zealand Championships title.

The top-ranked Senior woolhandler was Juliette Lyon, the Alexandra woolhandler who features in the tv programme Shearing Gang, based on the shearing contracting business run by parents Peter and Elsie Lyon. She had two wins early in the season, and three in February, but did not figure at either the Golden Shears or New Zealand Championships.

Henare's partner, Erica Reti, of Balfour, was named top-ranked Junior woolhandler, finishing her season in style with victory at the national championships.

To view the final rankings for the 2013/2014 season please click here - available as a pdf file.

You b-ewe-dies! Beau an co do merino record - April 08, 2014

Australian Beau Guelfi has become only the second person to hold World records in both strongwool and finewool shearing set in both New Zealand and Australia.

Beau Guelfi, 35, and originally from Kukerin, West Australia, shore 461 finewooled merino ewes yesterday, just five short of the solo record of 466 set by New Zealand gun Cartwright Terry in West Australia in 2003.

Yesterday's tally came as Guelfi, Bob White, from Conargo, and contractor Steve Mudford, established a three-stand mark of 1289 in the Mudford family's Parkdale Woolshed, northwest of Dubbo, NSW.

The day, with the crowd constantly over 400 and at least 1000 estimated to have passed through the shed as the record unfolded, impressed World Sheep Shearing Records Society secretary and Shearing Sports New Zealand life member Hugh McCarroll.

With auctions and other funding activities, the record raised about $20,000 for Australian depression research and support organisation Beyond Blue.

"They certainly did well," he said soon after returning to his Whangamata home today. Six judges controlled the record, convened by fellow SSNZ life member John Fagan, and including South African appointee Quinton Rogers, the build-up provided some anxiety, with rain over the previous two days. But all the sheep were safely under cover in the shed and an adjacent implement shed.

The Friday afternoon wool-weigh went to plan, with the sheep comfortably meeting the 3.4kg of wool per sheep minimum, and averaging 3.71kg.

It was just the latest in record shearing feats for Guelfi dating back to 1998 when, at the age of 19 and with less than two-and-a-half years' shearing behind him, he shore the only World crossbred record ever set in Australia with 463 lambs in eight hours near Wallacedale, Vic.

In December 2007, when based in Gisborne, on the East Coast of New Zealand's North Island, Guelfi shore 713 strongwool lambs as he and three New Zealand shearers set a four-stand, nine-hour lambshearing record of 2897 near Turangi, in the central North Island.

Cartwright Terry is the only other shearer in the World Sheep Shearing Record Society register for records on both types and on both sides of the Tasman, having in addition to his merino ewes record also featured with Guelfi in the 2007 record in New Zealand, when Terry shore 734 of the crossbred lambs.

Guelfi has also been a successful show competition shearer, with highlights including being one of the few Australians to shear in a Golden Shears final, finishing sixth in the Junior event in Masterton in 1998, and representing Australia in the 2008-2009 transtasman test series.

Starting at 7.30am yesterday, Guelfi was at his best shearing 121 in the opening two-hour run, followed by 117 in the run to lunch, 115 immediately afterwards and 108 in the last two hours. White shore 432 (111, 109, 108 and 104), and Mudford shore 396 (99, 98, 97, and 102).

The ewes were estimated to average about 70kg each, and contributed about 4.8 tonnes to Australia's annual wool clip.

No official eight-hour three-stand record is currently registered for crossbred strongwool ewes more common in New Zealand.

The records society's annual meeting was held the following day, with Mr Fagan becoming chairman, succeeding Australian Mark Baldwin, who was standing-down.

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