Meet the 80-year-old competing at the Golden Shears

Hugh McCarroll's love for the sport is as strong as ever.
Hugh McCarroll's love for the sport is as strong as ever. Photo credit: Supplied

When the first Golden Shears was held in Masterton War Memorial Stadium in 1961, teenager Hugh McCarroll was in the audience. 

Now 80 years old, this week he will return as a competitor, celebrating a life-long involvement with the event and his love of shearing.

In 1967, he won the intermediate Golden Shears Intermediate title and has continued as a successful competitor, international judge and administrator in shearing. 

Not surprisingly, today McCarroll is known as a legend of the sport.

McCarroll has received an MNZM (New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to shearing and was last year awarded the Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award at the Norwood NZ Rural Sports Awards.

Despite his long and impressive history at the annual shearing and wool-handling event, he is modest about his competition years.

"I was a farmer who did a bit of shearing, I didn't shear the huge numbers, probably around 300,000 sheep," McCarroll told Newshub.

Hugh McCarroll received the Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award at the Norwood NZ Rural Sports Awards in 2020.
Hugh McCarroll received the Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award at the Norwood NZ Rural Sports Awards in 2020. Photo credit: Supplied

Now retired, McCarroll has been training for this year's special veterans event, held as part of the Golden Shears 60th anniversary. 

"I do a bit of bike riding, and use the rowing machine."

He has also been spending time on his daughter and son-in-law's farm at Tirau to get ready for the competition.

"They've been keeping a few sheep, about 10-15 each time. It's been good, as there are not many sheep around Tauranga."

As McCarroll gets ready for the Golden Shears as he has done numerous times, his love of shearing is as strong as ever.

Hugh McCarroll is regarded as a legend in the New Zealand shearing industry.
Hugh McCarroll is regarded as a legend in the New Zealand shearing industry. Photo credit: Supplied

It's a journey that has been shared with his wife of 57 years, Biddy.

"I think shearing can get into your blood, and the people you meet and camaraderie, we've made a lot of good friends."

His roles as both a competitor and judge had seen the couple to many international shearing events. 

"You meet a lot of great people."

The 60th annual Golden Shears runs from March 4-7 in Masterton.

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