A vehicle up for grabs in New Zealand’s top all-breeds shearing competition could be clocking-up the kilometres big-time if early-season form is maintained through to its final at the 2022 Golden Shears.
Heading the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit leaderboard is Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford, with maximum points from the first two rounds as 23 shearers chase the ultimate prize, including a year’s lease of a four-wheel-drive Hyundai Santa Fe.
The 24 points, from the Open heats at the New Zealand Merino Shears at Alexandra on October 2 and the Waimate Shears last Saturday, he’s already secured enough for a place in the five-round series’ top 12, who will shear in the semi-finals on March 5, after a place in the six-man final a few hours later.
Leading the series through the opening rounds is not an uncommon position for the Southlander, but despite having shorn in 17 of the circuit’s 49 finals dating back to millennium year 2000, he has won the title just once – in 2014.
He was runner-up in 2019 and 2020, and third in 2001, 2012, 2015 and 2017, and has been the master performer on the merino finewool, with five wins in the Alexandra event, and the crossbred longwool with 10 wins at Waimate.
The series continues with the corriedale round at the Canterbury Shears in Christchurch on November 12, the lambshear at the Rangitikei Shearing Sports in Marton on February 5 and the second-shear of the Pahiatua Shears on February.
All five types will be shorn in what will be the 50th final of a series founded as the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown in 1972-1973.
Stratford is one of three former winners in the 2021-2022 series and in the current top 12.
Fellow Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, who won last season’s held in Te Kuiti after the cancellation of the Golden Shears, climbed to third place with second-best points in Waimate, before winning the show’s final, and 2019 winner Paerata Abraham, of Masterton, is in 10th place.
The series final has been the South Island’s most successful of the shearing events at the Golden Shears, with 23 wins since Colin Gibson, of Oamaru, won in 1977.
It was the first of five consecutive southern triumphs, being followed by South Canterbury shearers Adrian Cox and Kevin Walsh winning in 1978 and 1979 respectively, the great Brian “Snow” Quinn, of Alexandra, in 1980, and Cox’s second win in 1981.
Steve Dodds, of Riversdale, won in 1985, Edsel Forde, of Orepuki won three times consecutively in 1989-1990, Central Otago shearer Dion Morrell won in 1997, and Forde’s brother, Darin Forde, won four times, in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004.
Rakaia shearer Tony Coster won five times, becoming the first Hyundai Santa Fe prize-winner during his 2009-2011 reign and winning again in 2015 and 2016, while Marlborough shearer Angus Moore won in 2012 and 2020.
The most wins remains the nine by Te Kuiti shearer David Fagan between 1986 and 2008.
Placings and points in the 2021-2022 PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit after two rounds:
- 1 - Nathan Stratford (Invercargill), 24pts.
- 2 - Ethan Pankhurst (Masterton), 20pts
- 3 - Leon Samuels (Invercargill), 16pts.
- 4 - David Gordon (Masterton), 13pts.
- 5 - Troy Pyper (Cheviot), 12pts.
- 6 equal: Casey Bailey (Riverton), Alex Smith(Rakai), 10pts.
- 8 equal: Brett Roberts (Mataura), Hugh De Lacy(Parnassus), 9pts.
- 10 - Paerata Abraham (Masterton), 8pts.
- 11 - Ringakaha Paewai (Gore), 7pts.
- 12 equal: Lionel Taumata (Gore), Jack Fagan(Te Kuiti), 6pts..
- 14 - Jimmy Samuels (Marton), 5pts.
- 15 equal: Aaron Haynes (Palmerston North), Matene Mason(Masterton), 4pts.
- 17- Hemi Braddick (Eketahuna), 3pts.
- 18 equal: Duncan Higgins (Blenheim), Paul Hodges (Geraldine), Willy McSkimming (Oamaru), James Ruki (Te Kuiti), Phil Wedd (Silverrdale), 2pts.
- 23 - Beau Guelfi (Gisborne), 1pt. .