Thursday, December 7, 2023

Blade shearer hits a century

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South Canterbury farmer Tony Dobbs has shorn so many sheep a lack of recent practice barely seemed to matter in Waimate as he became the first person in the world to win 100 open blade shearing finals.
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Tony Dobbs | October 21, 2020 from GlobalHQ on Vimeo.

The win came on the second and last night of the 43rd Waimate Shears New Zealand Spring championships, where he first competed in 1979.

He won the Intermediate blades final there two years later and in 1985 had the first of his now 13 wins in the open event – two more than the championships’ next most successful competitor, legendary machine shearer Sir David Fagan.

Three days before the event, 58-year-old Dobbs, who farms near Fairlie, said he had barely shorn any sheep with the blades since he won a world teams title with fellow South Canterbury shearer Allan Oldfield in France in July 2019, and was doubting whether he had had anything like the right sort of preparation to win the first event of the season.

But he was certainly in the right form for the six-man showdown of four sheep each, finishing third-off in just under 15 minutes and beating individual runner-up and reigning individual World champion Oldfield, on both time and in the final count, with a winning margin of 1.645pts. 

The other big winner of the night was veteran Hawke’s Bay gun and 2017 world champion John Kirkpatrick who won the Open machine-shearing final.

Despite now having 189 wins to his name in Open-class machine shearing in 26 years, second worldwide behind only to Fagan’s tally of more than 640, it was Kirkpatrick’s first win on the longwool of the Waimate Shears.

Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, successfully defended the open woolhandling title she won for the first time last year, but had to settle for third in a South Island circuit final in which Kelly MacDonald, of Lake Hawea, secured her first A-grade woolhandling title, to go with a Junior shearing title she won at Waimate six years ago.

Alexandra woolhandler Pagan Karauria again got her season off to a good start when she successfully defended the Waimate Shears Open woolhandling final.

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