5 Mar 2015

Golden Shears begins today

2:19 pm on 5 March 2015

All eyes will be on shearing legend David Fagan at the Golden Shears, as he attempts to win the open competition for the final time.

David Fagan in action at the Otago Championships.

David Fagan in action at the Otago Championships. Photo: Shearing Sports New Zealand

Mr Fagan recently announced he would be hanging up his clippers and retiring from the sport at the end of the season.

The world famous Golden Shears began in Masterton about half past seven this morning and will run until Saturday night.

More than 300 people are competing for 22 titles, including shearing, wool handling, wool pressing and wool sculpting, as well as two Trans Tasman test matches between Australia and New Zealand.

Shearing Sports New Zealand's spokesperson Doug Laing said David Fagan would be a main attraction as he attempts his 17th and final Golden Shears open win.

"The big focus will be David Fagan of course, he's announced recently that he's retiring at the end of the season, so this will be his last Golden Shears. He's won the title 16 times, the first time he won it was back in 1986 and here we are almost 30 years later, he's now the favourite to win it again.

"He's actually won 12 finals at provincial shows around the country so far this season, in fact he's won seven on the trot, just right up to the last weekend in which he completed a treble at Taumaranui and Apiti up in Manawatu there and Pahiatua on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that's the first time that's been done for 18 years and of course he was the last one that achieved that."

Mr Laing said female shearers were providing a lot more competition this year too.

"In the junior sort of three or four out of the top five or six are all women shearers so there's a really strong possibility that we'll see a woman winning one or two of the shearing titles this year... not a lot of them have gone the women's way over the years.

"There's definitely a certain prospect of it this year, a girl called Laura Bradley from Woodville and Emily Te Kapa who's actually from Scotland but her father was a famous New Zealand shearer years ago, they're two that are right in the running for the Golden Shears junior shearing title."

Mr Laing said there would also be a reunion of about 16 shearers who competed in the open shearing championship finals during the first two decades of the Golden Shears.

In a preview for the Golden Shears, Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, won the Pre-Shears Woolhandling Championships Open title near Masterton yesterday.

She won the same event last year. She was the 2008 world woolhandling champion but has yet to win the Golden Shears title.

Yesterday's event was stacked with other top wool-handlers who are competing at the Shears, including the defending Golden Shears champion and 2012 World Champion Joel Henare, and the 2008 Golden Shears champion and 2014 World championships runner-up Ronnie Goss.