Any doubt Aotea's Speed Shear on Friday February 2 would not be supported quickly disappeared as entry lists quickly filled up and the crowd began entering to get the best positions about 6.30pm.

Organiser Teena Todd was relieved that this fundraiser for Aotea Rugby's upgraded club rooms was going to be a success after a year's layoff.

Sponsorship was sufficient to supply prizes for three grades — Senior, Open and Women — with the latter competition the first of its kind anywhere in the world, according to commentator Koro Mullins.

16-year old Bailey Johnson waits to grab the shorn lamb from Jeane Pierre.
16-year old Bailey Johnson waits to grab the shorn lamb from Jeane Pierre.

There were 28 entries in the Senior grade, with some of the juniors keen to participate. There were seven women contestants and 14 in the Open Grade.

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Speed Shear is different from the normal shearing competition. The contestants shear a lamb, and against the clock rather than against three other shearers.

Times were recorded on a white board with the six fastest times qualifying for the final.
Shearers had two attempts to qualify, which meant the night did not finish until 10.45pm.
Great excitement was generated as the speeds increased and times dropped, but not at the cost of careful shearing. Three judges assessed the lamb after it was shorn.

Laura Bradley wins the women's competition and was second in the Senior Speed Shear.
Laura Bradley wins the women's competition and was second in the Senior Speed Shear.

One of the hardest working volunteers was 16-year old Bailey Johnson, who retrieved each lamb after shearing to give to the judges — close to 100 times in the night.

In the finals Raniera Hauiti won the Senior Shear, Laura Bradley won the Women's Shear and Paerata Abraham won the Open Shear.

Teena says the club has made about $800 towards its renovations and it thanked Ruahuihui Station for supplying the lambs.