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Beyond the Bale : March 2014
FAST FACTS lWith a family background in shearing, National Shearing Champion Jason Wingfield began in the industry at an early age and now owns and runs a large shearing contracting business. l The Victorian has traveled the world shearing and will represent Australia in this year's World Shearing Championships to be held in Ireland in May. lAWI invests in the recruitment, up-skilling and retention of professional shearers and woolhandlers so the Australian wool clip can be harvested in a timely manner, with costs kept to minimum and clip quality improved. Ask 2013 Australian National Shearing Champion Jason Wingfield when he began shearing and he isn't exactly sure as he was essentially born into the industry. "It's in my DNA I suppose, Dad was a shearer in WA before we moved to Victoria. As long as I can remember I have been in sheds. As a very young boy I remember pretending to shear the dog and things like that until I was old enough to finally have a go myself," Jason says. After leaving school and a short time in a wool store in Geelong, Jason began his shearing career in earnest, largely self- taught before entering shearing contests in the early 1990s. "Those competitions are very important in your younger days and for me it was where I met Peter and Stan Artridge and they were a great help and from there I started in a few sheds around Avoca and Lexton where we were." Jason travelled to New Zealand each year for many years. These trips were another eye-opener as it is where he learnt a slightly different technique which increased not only his knowledge but also his desire to be the best. His enormous natural talent was showing through. By 1997, at 21, Jason was in the Victorian shearing team and has been part of the team virtually every year since. "I've not been in the team three times, two of them by choice. But to be representing your state or your country in what you do, you have to be constantly working on your game. Like any professional sportsperson you can't be casual." 2013 was the second occasion that Jason has won the National Shearing Championships. The first time was in 2009. These wins, amongst others, have seen him travel the world to compete for Australia. He has won numerous trips to New Zealand and competed in Norway and Wales in the World Championships. His next trip will be to Ireland in May as part of the Australian team competing in the World Championships (see opposite). Jason, alongside his wife Nicole (Diddi) now own and run "Baldwin Shearing" where they employ up to 50 shearers and shedhands. Mark Baldwin encouraged the move and has been of great help in the transition from shearer to businessman. It has been a natural progression for the gun shearer who still enjoys the opportunity to join one of his own teams. Jason works consistently in the sheds, his natural competitive nature means he loves to shear the sheep the BORN TO SHEAR: JASON WINGFIELD Jason Wingfield winning the 2013 Australian machine shearing title at Warrnambool in October 2013. PHOTO: Flick Wingfield. 36 ON-FARM March 2014 BEYOND THE BALE