South Canterbury town of Waimate gears up for shearing competition

Tony Dobbs at the Waimate Shears last year.
Tony Dobbs at the Waimate Shears last year. Photo credit: SSNZ

The South Canterbury town of Waimate is gearing up to host the first event of the country's shearing sports season this week.

More than 170 shearers and wool handlers are expected at the event, including several current or former world champions.

It comes after a number of competitions were cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdown and Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan said entries to the competition had been higher than usual.

"[It] just shows that everyone just wants to get out there and compete," Sir David said on Wednesday.

"Given all the difficulties, which most people planning events of any sort throughout New Zealand are facing, the Waimate Shears committee has done an incredible job getting this all together."

Among those competing is Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, who is chasing a world-first 100th open-class blade shearing victory.

The 58-year-old said while he hasn't been able to prepare as well as he had hoped for the competition, he was determined not to "go out on 99". 

After first competing at the Waimate Shears in 1979 he has won the open blade shearing title 12 times. 

The Waimate Shears will take place on Friday and Saturday.