Region to benefit from world contest

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The Golden Shears World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships to be held in Southland early next year are set to have huge spinoffs for the region, especially in accommodation, as hundreds of competitors, supporters and spectators converge on the South.
It is expected as many as 160 competitors from up to 30 countries will attend, as will about 185 machine shearers, up to 30 blade shearers and 80 woolhandlers from throughout New Zealand, plus a similar number of judges and team officials. There will also be an army of supporters.
Stadium Southland, in Invercargill, will be turned into a massive woolshed.
The event is expected to attract the cream of the crop from the global and national shearing scenes.
Shearing industry heads from throughout the country have joined forces to organise the championships. The World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships working committee met in Gore last week.
Committee chairman and South Island Shearing Sports chairman Michael Hogan, of Mabel Bush, said he and his North Island counterpart were involved in organising the mammoth event. The world shearing and woolhandling championships will be held in Invercargill from February 9 to
11. The competition will start with an all-nations shearing and woolhandling event on February 9 and 10.
‘‘It’s basically a warm-up event,’’ Mr Hogan said.
The first round of the world competition will start on February 10.
It was expected about 180 shearers and 80 woolhandlers would take part in a warm-up event, he said.
‘‘It is a lot of competitors.’’
Three farm owners will provide the sheep. Peters Romneys, of Moa Flat, will supply about 2500 secondshear ewes, Bruce Robertson, of Wyndham, will supply 1000 full-wool ewes and Alan Marshall, of Waikawa Valley, 800 lambs. All the sheep are Romneys.
Organisers are charged with providing accommodation for all visiting international competitors, officials and judges, Mr Hogan said.
Because the main shearing season would be in full swing in February, many shearers and woolhandlers who come south would already have accommodation provided by contractors.
It was envisaged outlying areas such as Gore and Winton would benefit from the influx of visitors and those town’s accommodation outlets would be booked out, he said.
‘‘We’ll cope. There are alternatives out there.’’
Bed and breakfast providers, billeting, campervans and caravans would all be used to accommodate visitors if required, MrHogan said.
Not only would competitors compete at the world event, they would probably take part in lead-up events held in the South, and the Southern Shears competition to be held just after the global competition.
The Southern Shears could be a bumper event next year, he said.
Those travelling long distances would want to experience as much as they could of the area and of the New Zealand shearing and woolhandling competitions the South had to offer.
The shearing industry put the world championships on a pedestal and it was a competition shearers and woolhandlers were eager to take part in.
There was huge interest in the event, Mr Hogan said.
‘‘It’s getting really exciting, actually.’’
Five-time world champion shearer and Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan said the event was shaping up as the world’s biggest celebration of sheep and the wool industry.