Veteran shearers show how it is done

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Shaun Burgess

Veteran shearers Shaun Burgess and Brian ”Baldy” Graham gave pupils at Tinwald School a sneak peek of the action to take place at the Shear For Life fundraising event this weekend.

Both men, 30-year plus veterans in their fields, shore one cross-bred lamb each; one by machine shearing (Burgess) and the other by blade shearing (Graham) during a school assembly on the playground.

During the assembly pupils were given insight to the world of shearing such as the need for a blade shear versus machine shear, the equipment used and the clothing worn.

A blade shear kept a bit of length on the wool with lanolin to keep the skin waterproof, while a machine shear was cut closer to the skin.

Blade shearing was especially beneficial for sheep in the high country and provided extra warmth in winter.

The mini-shearing exhibit was a fraction of the scale expected at Saturday’s Shear for Life event on at the Ewing Family property, in Hinds, this Saturday with 70 international and national veteran shearers in Mid Canterbury to shear 3000 cross-bred lambs for fun – and to raise money for Ashburton Cancer Support Group, Breast Cancer NZ and Prostate Cancer NZ.

Shearers and support crew will wear special commemorative teeshirts, or singlet tops, as part of the event.

Among those to take part will be current and former world shearing champions, stars from the She Shears movie and All Black greats.

Among those involved are shearing greats Sir David Fagan, Dixy Lynch, Tom Wilson, Colin King, Peter Lyons, Darin Forde, Dion Morrell, Marg Baynes, Ingrid Smith, Jules Burney and All Black legends Sir Brian Lochore, Andy Earl and Mid Canterbury’s Jock Ross and octogenarian Ken Pike.

They will be joined by fellow All Black legend Wayne “Buck” Shelford, not shearing, but on site in his role as ambassador for Prostrate Cancer NZ.

Local shearers Grant Smith, Tony Costa, John Hough, Stu Mangin and Bruce Lilley are just a few of the Mid Cantabrians taking part.

Commentary during the event will be provided by Norm Harraway and Rowland Smith with support from co-organiser Rocky Bull.

During the event there will be food, beverages for purchase, along with raffles and competitions for people to enter.

Following the shearing there will be an auction on some top items donated by businesses, organisations, and individuals including a signed All Black jersey, five-day ski pass, Mustang travel/accommodation package, Mt Aspiring helicopter ride and overnight accommodation in Kaikoura, framed event T-shirt/singlet and a Makapua Station hunting package with Swazi clothing and a Heinger shearing handpiece, but there will also be giveaway prizes on the day.

Master of ceremonies is Craig Harrison.

Other entertainment will include live music from country and western singer Chris Welson and a bouncy castle for the kids.

People were encouraged to bring along some money to support the cause.

Entry is by gold coin donation.

It is on at Hindsridge Farm, 1098 Hendersons Road, Hinds on Saturday, from 8am to 4pm.