This year’s Waimate Shears will be broadcast further than ever – but that is no excuse not to head down and see some of the world’s best shearers in action.
Thanks to some local sponsorship and grants, the A&P Shears Pavilion has had a $30,000 media centre installed, which will allow the event to be livestreamed on Facebook and on a big screen at the event on October 11 and 12.
There will be plenty of interest in the action – world champion speed shearer Jack Fagan, son of all-time great David Fagan, is locked in to compete.
He would be hard to beat in the speed shear on Friday night, but anything could happen in that format, Waimate Shears president Warren White said.
“That is always popular for a night out, it’s easy to understand,” Mr White said.
In recent years, it had attracted a good crowd, and not just those from a rural background, he said.
The event generally attracted top shearers from around the country and further abroad. Along with Alexandra and Christchurch, it is one of the most prestigious shows in the South Island, Mr White said.
Last year’s event was won by Nathan Stratford, who has represented New Zealand on several occasions. He will be one to beat this year, alongside Fagan and up-and-comer Brett Roberts.
This year will also see the return of the New Zealand versus Australia blade shearing test, featuring recently-crowned world champion Alan Oldfield.
New to the programme this year is an event for novice shearers and a women’s grade, as well as the return of less serious events involving local young farmers and the “father and son” competition.
The committee was lucky to have the support of locals who attended the show each year, and farmers who supplied the sheep, Mr White said.
“There is a lot of work to prepare the sheep.
“We are lucky to have farmers who go to the extra effort in how those sheep are presented.
“The show has a real local feel to it.”
It will be the 52nd edition of the Waimate Shears, and the third in the new pavilion, which had turned out to be a “bloody good” facility.
“It’s easy to set up, I’ve got some big strong boys to help but getting them on the job can be a bit difficult,” Mr White said.
It had plenty of room and was in high demand throughout the year, he said.
“The [polished concrete] floor is an easy clean, any stains on the floor enhances it and there is heaps of parking.
“There aren’t too many neighbours. One complained that the music wasn’t loud enough last year.
“It’s a perfect place for a funeral. We have more of them than anything – near one a week.”
The March Hare, A&P Show, Rodeo and various horse jumping competitions meant that the competition was largely self-sufficient.
“It pretty much breaks even. We just do a fundraiser each year.”
Friday, October 11
Noon: Woolhandling heats begin
7.30pm: Speed shear starts
8.30pm: Speed shear final
Saturday, October 12
7.30am: Shearing heats begin with novice machine
1.30pm: Woolhanding finals
4.30pm: Shearing finals begin
8.25: Open machine final
Times are approximate.