Budding shearing champions from the Nelson and Marlborough region will have the chance to see the World’s best in action when champion Rowland Smith competes at the Tapawera Shears tomorrow(Saturday).
Smith, who won the World title in Ireland in 2014 and last weekend started a bid to defend it next year by winning the first two rounds of as New Zealand team selection series confirmed earlier this week he planned to shear at Tapawera.
Near invincible over the last two years, with 16 wins in 18 finals dating back to the 2014 Golden Shears win which put him into the World Championships two months later,
The former Northland and now Hawke’s Bay shearer and farmer said he will compete at Tapawera to get starters points to be eligible for the South Island Shearer of the Year final.
Shearers must compete in at least four shows in the South Island to be eligible for SISOY finals at the Southern Shears in Gore next month.
Tapawera, just under 60km south of Nelson on SH6, has hosted World champions or prospective World champions in the past, but they are rare appearances in the region.
Event organiser Kerry Irvine says he hopes the appearance will attract younger hopefuls to both see the champion and compete in their own grades, although the pressure of work as shearing backs-up following recent rain in the region threatens to limit entries to some degree.
About 320 sheep have been prepared for the shears which start at 10am, with competition in all four grades from Junior to Open, along with a Cleanshear. The event will be followed with a speedshear tomorrow night at the Tapawera Hotel, starting at 7pm.
While there are 60 competitions during the season on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar during the season, the Tapawera Shears is the only event in the South Island this weekend, while there are three in the North Island, at Warkworth and Tauranga on Saturday, and Levin on Sunday.