A former Napier Boys' High School student and Great Raihania Shears Schools shearing champion has bounced back from a Covid-19 lockdown job loss to become a national shearing champion.
Reuben King, 24, from Central Hawke's Bay but based in North Canterbury with Rangiora shearing contractor Rowan Nesbit, won the New Zealand Shears Junior title in Te Kuiti on Friday and a few hours later was named Shearing Sports New Zealand's No 1-ranked Junior shearer in New Zealand for the 2020-2021 season.
King won the secondary schools competition at the Hawke's Bay show in 2014 but after leaving NBHS headed for studies in mechanical engineering at Canterbury University.
He was three months into a new job in design engineering in Christchurch last year when the Covid-19 lockdown resulted in him being laid off.
He switched immediately back to shearing, starting on the path to a season which ended with 11 finals wins during the summer, more than any other competitor in any grade apart from Pongaroa farmer and open-class shearer David Buick, who, in becoming North Island Shearer of the Year on Friday night, also had 11 wins.
Possibly a first, King's victories included national titles on all four types of wool available in Junior shearing competition in New Zealand – long wool, corriedales, lambs and second-shear.
"I've got the bug," said King, who as soon as the championships had ended was on his way back to North Canterbury to get back to work.
He was particularly appreciative of the input of private trainers Elite Wool Industry Training, and said: "I've done two courses with them, and I don't think I'd be here without them."
He was one of four big winners from Hawke's Bay in the three days of the championships, including Golden Shears and former world champion Rowland Smith, of Maraekakaho, who in a one-two Hawke's Bay finish claimed glamour target the open shearing title for an eighth time, and a fifth time in a row.
John Kirkpatrick, now almost 51, was runner-up in a remarkable sequence of performances in the four open-class finals - runner-up also in the North Island Shearer of the Year and New Zealand Shears Circuit finals, and third in the national All-Breeds circuit final, incorporating the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown.
The other Hawke's Bay winners were Jasmin Tipoki and Te Whetu Brown, both working for Napier contractors Puna Shearing and winning the North Island Senior and Junior woolhandling circuits respectively. A presentation was held at the Shears, but the circuits finished without finals, which had been cancelled because of the Covid-19 alert level 2 crisis at the start of March.
A range of other Hawke's Bay placings included that of Smedley Cadet manager Rob Evans, primarily in Te Kuiti with cadets who were shearing, but taking time out for a surprise sixth placing in the Junior shearing final.
RESULTS from the 2021 New Zealand Shears shearing and woolhandling championships held in the Les Munro Centre, Te Kuiti, on April8-10:
New Zealand Shears Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 16min 14.37sec, 55.319pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Pakipaki) 16min 12.73sec, 55.887pts, 2; David Buick (Pongaroa) 16min 1.19sec, 54.36pts, 3; Hemi Braddick (Eketahuna) 16min 31.29sec, 57.765pts, 4; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 16min 59.36sec, 60.218pts, 5; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 60.229pts, 6.
New Zealand Shears Circuit final (15 sheep – 5 merino, 5 second-shear, 5 lambs): Leon Samuels (Invercargill) 17min 25.45sec, 67.073pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Pakipaki) 17min 38.52sec, 67.659pts, 2; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 17min 39.51sec, 67.976pts, 3; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 18min 14.82sec, 69.541pts, 4; David Buick (Pongaroa) 17min 33.36sec, 70.201pts, 5; Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 18min 17.57sec, 71.812pts, 6.
North Island Shearer of the Year (20 sheep – 10 ewes, 10 lambs): David Buick (Pongaroa) 15min 21.64sec, 53.182pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Pakipaki) 15min 57.51sec, 54.026pts, 2; Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 16min 18sec, 55.4pts, 3; Hemi Braddick (Eketahuna) 17min 3.37sec, 58.569pts, 4; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 16min 42.93sec, 59.347pts, 5; Leon Samuels (Invercargill) 16min 4.43sec, 60.972pts, 6.
New Zealand Shears Open Plate (10 sheep): Leon Samuels (Invercargill) 9min 59.34sec, 38.367pts, 1; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 9min 49.29sec, 38.665pts, 2; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 9min 40.23sec, 39.412pts, 3; Troy Pyper (Invercargill/Cheviot) 9min 25.29sec, 41.765pts, 4; Toa Henderson (Kaiwaka) 9min 12sec, 43pts, 5; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 9min 11.83sec, 44.292pts, 6.
NZ Shears Open Challenger (10 sheep, shearers who have not won an Open final): Ethan Pankhurst (Masterton) 10min 37.46sec, 39.773pts, 1; Lionel Taumata (Taumarunui/Gore) 10min 38.17sec, 40.909pts, 2; Simon Goss (Mangamahu) 10min 36.42sec, 41.921pts, 3; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 10min 24.06sec, 42.303pts, 4; Llion Jones (Te Kuiti) 10min 52.45sec, 43.223pts, 5; Darren Alexander (Hastings) 11min 53.48sec, 43.474pts, 6.
New Zealand Shears Senior Championship final (12 sheep): Paora Moanaroa (Eketahuna) 12min 39.28sec, 45.548pts, 1; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 12min 23.58sec, 46.263pts, 2; Chris Dickson (Masterton) 11min 51.39sec, 46.32pts, 3; Tama Nahona (Kaiwaka) 12min 6.11sec, 49.306pts, 4; Ruka Braddick (Eketahuna) 13min 23.01sec, 49.901pts, 5; Gethin Lewis (Wales) 12min 40.88sec, 51.794pts, 6.
NZ Shears Intermediate final (8 sheep): Joseph Gordon (Masterton) 10min 47.79sec, 39.515pts, 1; Aled Evans (Wales) 10min 37.9sec, 43.02pts, 2; Gabriel Winders (Winton) 11min 10.53sec, 43.902pts, 3; John Cherrington (Ngaruawahia) 11min 48.15sec, 45.033pts, 4; Topia Barrowcliffe (Piopio) 12min 7.43sec, 46.247pts, 5; Ben Forrester (Rangiora) 11min 57.05sec, 50.603pts, 6.
NZ Shears Junior final (5 sheep): Reuben King (Ongaonga/Rangiora) 8min 18.66sec, 36.733pts, 1; Keahrey Manson (Piopio) 9min 19.36sec, 39.968pts, 2; Henry Stewart (Feilding) 10min 7.42sec, 41.371pts, 3; Timo Hicks (Tapawera) 9min 5.02sec, 41.651pts, 4; Hamu Henderson (Kaiwaka) 9min 42.97sec, 42.349pts, 5; Rob Evans (Tikokio) 9min 38.2sec, 42.91pts, 6.
Novice final (2 sheep): Sean Fagan (Te Kuiti) 5mn 10.1sec, 30.505pts, 1; Tessa Berger (Ahuroa) 8min 15.48sec, 31.274pts, 2; Harry Smith (Tikokino) 6muin 12.88sec, 32.144pts, 3; Cameron Artz (Raetihi) 5min 58.49sec, 35.425pts, 4; Logan Blackburn (Tikokino) 4min 54.67src, 36.724pts, 5; Casey Fergus (Cambridge) 9min 5-.94sec, 44.047pts, 6.
NZ Shears Women's final (6 sheep): Catherine Mullooly (Matawai) 8min 18.22sec, 35.077pts, 1; Laura Bradley (Woodville) 8min 31.63sec, 37.082pts, 2; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 8min 9.77sec, 38.822pts, 3; Ingrid Smith (Maraekakaho) 9min 47.31sec, 39.366pts, 4; Emily Te Kapa (Scotland) 9min 26.99sec, 41.017pts, 5; Peggy Sue Tohengaroa (Aria) 10min 28.89sec, 47.778pts, 6.
New Zealand Shears Intermediate/Junior Development Teams Challenge: Canterbury Black (Chase Rattray, Reuben King) 9min 39.18sec, 36.359pts, 1; NZ Shears One (Matthew Smith, Keahrey Manson) 8min 37.67sec, 36.884pts, 3; NZ Shears 2 (Topia Barrowcliffe, Maureen Chaffey, 9min 2.16sec, 37.308pts, 3; Canterbury Red (Ben Forrester, Timo Hicks) 9min 8.98sec, 38.649pts, 4.
Local Contractors (10 sheep): Fagan No 1 (Jack Fagan, James Ruki, Reuben Alabaster) 11min 15.96sec, 42.698pts, 1; Fagan No 2 (-) 11min 10.2sec, 46.21pts, 2; Barrowcliffe 11min 32.83sec, 46.942pts, 3; CT Shearing (-)11min 36.48sec, 51.124pts, 4; Taumata Shearing (-) 12min 21.93sec, 52.697pts, 5; Fagan No 3 (-) 12min 12.81sec, 56.241pts, 6.
New Zealand Shears Open final (6 second-sheer sheep): Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 54.78pts, 1; Joel Henare (Gisborne) 67.37pts, 2; Brittany Tibble (Gisborne) 74.53pts, 3; Monica Potae (Kennedy Bay) 78.53pts, 4; Angela Stevens (Napier) 93.22pts, 5.
New Zealand Shears Senior final: Azuredee Paku (Masterton/Piopio) 50.2pts, 1; Lucas Broughtonk (Gisborne) 62pts, 2; Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 65.482pts, 3; Vinniye Phillips (Taumarunui) 67.44pts, 4; Jasmin Tipoki (Napier) 71.75pts, 5.
New Zealand Shears Junior final: Rahera Kerr (Hauturu) 52.28pts, 1; Renee Tarrant 60.78pts, 2; Amy Bell (Weber) 61.75pts, 3; Emma Kendrick (Feilding) 62.938pts, 4; Tia Manson (Piopio) 84.07pts, 5.
North Island Open Circuit final: Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 107.43pts, 1; Ricci Stevens (Naoier) 144.49pts, 2; Angela Stevens (Napier) 144.632pts, 3; Samantha Gordon (Masterton) 150.1pts, 4.
North Island Senior Circuit: Jasmin Tipoki (Napier) 1; Azuredee Paku (Masterton/Piopio) 2; Te Anna Phillips (Taumarunui) 3; Vinniye Phillips (Taumarunui) 4.
North Island Junior Circuit: Te Whetu Brown (Wairoa) 1; Rahera Kerr (Hauturu) 2; Shontaye Walker (Feilding) 3; Amy Bell (Weber) 4.
Shearing and woolhandling:
Inter-island Teams shearing and woolhandling challenge (6 sheep): South Island (shearers – Leon Samuels, Nathan Stratford, Brett Roberts; woolhandlers – Monica Potae, Joel Henare, Pagan Karauria) beat North Island (shearers – Rowland Smith, David Buick, John Kirkpatrick; woolhandlers – Sheree Alabaster, Keryn Herbert, Anita Phillips) 7min 13sec, 236.9pts, by 17.2pts.