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Beyond the Bale : September 2013
26 26 26 ON-FARM FAST FACTS l The inaugural Kinross Woolshed Shearing Challenge is a new competition in which shearers had to shear a single crossbred sheep, and were judged on both productivity and quality. l This is a new concept in training and benchmarking shearers’ skill and performance. l The competition was preceded by a training day, supported by AWI, which focused on strong wool sheep. September 2013 BEYOND THE BALE Participants and staff at the fully booked training day organised by Riverina TAFE at “Banoon” near Mullengandra. Competitors and spectators flocked to the first Kinross Woolshed Shearing Challenge at Albury, NSW in June to watch the shearing equivalent of Twenty20 cricket. The competitors had to shear a single crossbred sheep, and were judged on both productivity and quality. With 53 shearers (7 female) taking part in the competition, sponsored by AWI, there wouldn’t have been time for them to shear more than one sheep each anyway! Many of the competitors had taken part in a training day organised by Riverina TAFE earlier in the day at “Banoon” near Mullengandra. The shearing day, which focused on strong wool sheep, was fully booked out. AWI provided six leading trainers for the day who delivered training in all key facets of crossbred shearing: shearing techniques, grinding and sharpening, nutrition/fitness/heath and competition judging. AWI also providing funding to bring high profile Victorian trainer Roger Mifsud up for the day – a “new face” in southern NSW and a top notch trainer – who proved to be a huge success. The “Banoon” training day also featured one of Australia’s first female shearing trainers. Andrea Froon from Bunnaloo in the NSW Riverina was very well regarded by participants and has a bright future in shearing training. Andrea was also one of seven female competitors, three or whom made it through to the semi-finals. The second stage of the training day was the test of new found skills through the competition at the Kinross Woolshed Hotel. Having shorn between 80 to 110 sheep in a day the field of 15 shearers in the Novice category, encouraged by the TAFE trainers, battled their nerves in front of a 650 strong enthusiastic crowd, in what was for many their first shearing competition. Yanco Agricultural High School student Royce Johnston was the eventual winner, with Culcairn shearer Jarrod Heaphey second. The Intermediate shearers brought a faster pace to the competition, with locally based Irish shearer Aoidh Doyle dominating the early rounds of competition. But it was Holbrook shearer Sean Galvin shearing his one sheep in just over one minute, one second slower than the Irishman but with pure quality, who become the Intermediate champion. Roger Mifsud and local lad Kaleb Artridge battled out the Open category. Kaleb shore his finals sheep in 42 seconds, and with his combined score of 63 he became the first Kinross Woolshed Shearing champion. The “single sheep” Twenty20 format is unique in that, like its namesake cricket competition, it attempts to bring the full entertainment value of the long form of the game/profession to spectators in the space of a few hours. And whilst shearing Yanco Agricultural High School student Royce Johnston, winner of the Novice category at the AWI- sponsored Kinross Woolshed Shearing Challenge. a single sheep might not be considered by some to be particularly representative of “shed shearing”, the strong emphasis put on quality points – board and pen – balanced the advantage of speed. “You will always get some discussion about the best balance between quality and speed, but we think that with a bit of fine tuning this format will give the shearing industry a great way to show off its skills to the public,” said training day host and experienced competition judge Peter Artridge. One retired shearer commented: “I cannot believe the shear talent these young competitors have displayed here tonight. This unique first time competition which matched quality with speed shearing one crossbred lamb is a delight to see.” Youngsters take to Twenty20 shearing