Sunday, January 24, 2010
We were treated to another new experience yesterday. There was a sheep shearing contest at one of the local pubs in town. Now, NZ has a reputation for having lots of sheep. After our little tour around the South Island, I can attest to that. Sheep on hills, sheep on plains, sheep here, sheep there, sheep everywhere. With all these sheep, there is a huge industry for the skills involved in shearing these animals. The shearers in the "clean cut" category were able to completely shear a sheep in about 2 minutes. The "speed cut" category saw sheep completely shorn in under 50 seconds. These people wear special footwear referred to as mocassins that give them better contact with the floor and allow them to use their feet more effectively during the process. The best shearers can shear upwards of 200 sheep per day.
Since 1977, they have held world championship shearing contests every 2 or 3 years around the world. There have been 13 such championships. New Zealand has won the team competition 10 of these and David Fagan from New Zealand has won the individual competition 5 times! These kiwis know a thing or two about sheep! The next World Championships will be held in July 2010 in Wales; something to put on your calendar.