Pongaroa farmer David Buick lived up to all of his promise as a shearer with a surprise win among some of the world's best in northern Manawatu on Saturday.
But despite his good form Buick is bypassing the opportunity of reaching a Golden Shears open final for the first time, confirming after his victory in a 20-sheep final at the Apiti Sports that when the world's greatest shearing title is decided in Masterton next Saturday night he will be at a wedding.
Getting married is best mate Lance Woodham, who he can fairly claim to have known all his life, - they were born just 26 hours apart.
"He's only getting married once, the Golden Shears will be there every year," said 34-year-old father-of-two Buick, refusing to rue missing a golden opportunity.
It wasn't just any win for Buick, a former Golden Shears intermediate champion whose open competition appearances have been limited because of the remoteness of his farm.
In the six-man final he beat TAB Golden Shears favourite Rowland Smith, defending four-times Golden Shears champion John Kirkpatrick, King Country legend and 16-times Golden Shears champion David Fagan, and 2010 Golden Shears and world champion Cam Ferguson.
Struggling with a bout of the flu which he said almost caused him to "turn around and go home" while on the 1hr 45mins drive from his remote North Wairarapa farm, Buick was last to finish, although only 37 seconds behind Kirkpatrick who recorded the fastest time of 16mins 43secs
But with the best board and pen quality points he did enough to take the win by 0.25 points from Hastings-based Smith, who had the previous day in Taumarunui scored his eighth win in five weeks, while the usually prolific winning Kirkpatrick, from Napier, had to settle for third. He has now reached 15 finals this season for just three victories.
Kaeo shearer Bryce Guy won the senior final and university student Ethan Pankhurst, from Masterton, the intermediate title, each having won the previous day at Taumarunui, while Gisborne's Larry Fleming took out the junior final.
The open plate was won by Paerata Abraham of Masterton, Hemi Braddick of Eketahuna was third in the senior final and David Gordon of Masterton was fourth in the intermediate final.
Ronnie Goss, of Kimbolton, won the open woolhandling final, narrowly beating Taumarunui winner Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu, Goss becoming a strong contender to win a second Golden Shears open, and Herbert equally-hopeful of winning her first.
The senior woolhandling final was won by Kim Sowry, of Pahiatua, with Samantha Gordon of Masterton second and the junior final by Robeena Eketone, from Waitara.
The countdown to Golden Shears continued at the Pahiatua Shears yesterday where the action included the third test between New Zealand and Wales in a series in which the Kiwis had established a 2-0 lead.
Woolhandlers did not compete at Pahiatua.