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Stackyard News Jul 05

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Lakeland Shears sheep shearing contest

World class shearers from as far afield as New Zealand took part in the third Lakeland Shears International Sheep Shearing Competition at Cockermouth  auction mart on Saturday (July 9).

Each of the various classes in the competition was as exciting and competitive as the last.

Regular competitors on the world circuit David Fagan and Dean Ball, from New Zealand, managed Cumbria's Herdwicks with ease.

All the sheep sheared were in good condition and ready for shearing with fleeces rolling off in less than one minute.  David Fagan managed to shear 20 sheep in 13.5 minutes!  

Bob Shaw, Coordinator for Rural Futures and one of the key organisers said, “The time and effort Rural Futures committed to getting this event off the ground has certainly paid off.  We have an event that attracts world class shearers.  The shearing skill demonstrated today is incredible.”

The old hand-shearing skills were not forgotten at the competition.  This class was an all British competition with the winning contender being John Hind of Low Moor End, Ennerdale.  Hand shearing takes a bit more time than machine shearing but great skill is still required to ensure a quality fleece.

Part way through proceedings the audience were given the thrill of watching the visiting New Zealanders performing the Haka.  This was a great hit with everyone and was much appreciated.

The Young Farmers class received a lot of encouragement from the audience. The winner in this class was Peter Redhead from Hyton, Bootle.  He received the fantastic prize of a trip to New Zealand.

During the trip Peter will attend the Kokamo's International Shearing School.  He will be given instruction on a one to one basis from experienced shearers.

Mavis Mullins from Kokamo was at the Lakeland Shears competition and said, “We are really looking forward to Peter's visit.  We feel it is important for young people to have opportunities to travel and learn new skills.

“We will be focusing on his particular shearing needs and be helping him develop the skills needed to shear the New Zealand sheep breeds.”

Peter will also have the opportunity to work on farms during his stay and because the Shearing School has farming connections on both the north and south island, Peter will be able to chose where he would like to work.   

The prize was sponsored by the International Centre for the Uplands based at Hackthorpe.  Dr Cathy Bailey from the Centre presented the travel prize to Peter.  After the presentation she said: “This Cumbrian Travelling Fellowship offers Peter the opportunity to go to another similar region where he can share and exchange skills.  The Upland Centre is keen to promote international exchange of experience.”

Organisers Willie Tyson and Dave Gillett were delighted with the success of the day.

Willie said: “We've seen shearing at its best today - a display thoroughly enjoyed by all.  We have seen hand shearing and the modern machine way but perhaps most encouraging of all is to see young people taking up the skill.  Today the New Zealander team won the 'Test Match' class but they had better watch out as we have some fine young shearers coming on.”  

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