“A bit of a dry spell” has come to an end for Waikaka shearer Brayden Clifford.
Clifford finished second in the Golden Shears intermediate final in Masterton on Friday, shearing eight sheep in 11min 35sec and finishing with 43.521 points.
Pongaroa shearer Cullum Pritchard took the top spot and Clifford’s fellow Waikaka shearer Matt Hunt placed sixth.
It was a vast improvement for Clifford, who finished fifth in the intermediate final last year.
“It was pretty cool to make the final,” he said.
“I was pretty keen for the win, but you can’t win everything.”
He put his rise in form down to experience and completing an Elite Wool Industry Training pre-Golden Shears course days before the event.
“It’s good training.”
Completing the course proved to be worthwhile as the sheep were in a different condition from what he was used to in Southland.
“It’s been a pretty dry season up there and I think it threw a lot of people off.
“That pre-shears gave me an idea of what it was like and finding the right gear to use.”
He competed in shears in Southland and Canterbury but experienced “a bit of a dry spell” since winning the intermediate shearing at the Winton A&P Show in January.
The Platinum Shearing worker was in his second main-shear after he stopped playing rugby, got “hooked” on shearing and took it up full time.
“Platinum have been a big help.
“I love it – it’s good fun.
“There’s learning involved all the time to get better and my job’s a sport in a way and I get to go compete at the weekends.”
He had a few shows left to compete in this season before heading to Scotland for his first experience of shearing overseas.
Next season he would return to Golden Shears, competing in the senior competition.