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Last blows in World Champs preparation

The build-up to the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships begins in earnest this week, with two International Training Days scheduled for Mount Linton Station in Western Southland on Wednesday and Thursday.

The two-day training course for international competitors in the upcoming World Championships is designed to provide the opportunity to upskill and learn from some of the best shearing and woolhandling trainers in New Zealand.

World Championship Organising Committee Chairman Tom Wilson said the training days were an important factor in the record attendance of 32 countries for this year's championships.

"It's unheard of to get this many attending a World Champs on this side of the world. We've put in a lot of hard work to get these countries to come to New Zealand. Our main focus with our proposal right at the beginning was on getting as many countries as possible here. We told them we'd look after them and would give them training sessions over here and that was a big drawcard for them," he said.

Competitors will be able to call on a wealth of knowledge and experience from the trainers who will include Wilson himself along with fellow former World Shearing Champion Alan MacDonald (Poipio), four-time National multi-breeds champ Tony Coster of Rakaia, 2005 World Woolhandling Team champion Tina Rimene and well known trainers including blade shearers Noel Handley, a veteran of three World Championships, and Peter Race along with Chas Tohiariki of Riverton and Gavin Rowland, the past-Chairman of Shearing Sports New Zealand.

Rowland who is also a member of the World Championship Organising Committee said the two days would involve a mix of group sessions and one-on-one tuition.

"They will be two big days with lambs on the first day (Wednesday) and second shear ewes on the second. There will be different stations set up and we'll take them through the right way to do things and there will be a real focus on gear preparation, how to get their combs right for the sheep they will see at World Champs and how to make sure their gear is ground right," he said.

"We are very lucky to have access to such an incredible farm at Mount Linton and their great facility which provides the perfect venue for us and the perfect showcase for farming in Southland," Mr Rowland said.

Competitors from a majority of the countries competing in next week's championships are expected to attend including Australia, Austria, Denmark, England, Estonia, Falkland Islands, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland, United States and Wales.

The build-up continues with the southern shearing circuit recommencing with the Otago Shearing and Woolhandling Championships over Friday and Saturday in Balclutha, where the New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year will be crowned along with the annual Reefton A&P Show on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Gore will play host to a special GO SHEAR day on Sunday. The Gore District Council, Mataura Licensing Trust and Gore A&P Association have developed GO SHEAR as a great way to showcase the Gore District to visitors to the south.

"We wanted to give everyone traveling south an easy way to take in all that's great about our district. You won't find an activity which fits better with Gore's rural city living tag-line than shearing and to have such great support from the MLT and Gore A&P Association has meant we can put on a pretty spectacular day," Gore District Council Events and Promotions Coordinator Emma Carle said.

GO SHEAR follows this weekend's annual Gore A&P Show and commences with Dog Trials from 10:00am on Sunday, ploughing demonstrations from 1:00pm and is headlined by the MLT Traffers International Speed Shear from 2:00pm, where the fastest shearers from around New Zealand and around the world will compete for a share of the $5000 prize pool. Entry for the public is free.

For details on GO SHEAR, click here.


 

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