Hawke's Bay competitors pulled off a clean sweep of all three titles decided on the opening day of the 60th Golden Shears in Masterton on Wednesday.

Wairoa College student Ryka Swann, 14, won the novice shearing final, and senior grade shearer Laura Bradley, of Papatawa, between Woodville and Dannevirke, reverted to throwing the fleeces rather than shearing them and won the novice woolhandling title.

Earlier, in the first final of the championships, farm training cadets Connor McIntyre, from Pongaroa, and Zane Rogers, from Gisborne, retained the Student Shearing Challenge title for Pukemiro Station, just east of Dannevirke.

Student Challenge winners Connor McIntyre and Zane Rogers (second, third left) after winning the title for Pukemiro Station at the 60th Golden Shears. Photo / Pete Nikolaison, Golden Shears
Student Challenge winners Connor McIntyre and Zane Rogers (second, third left) after winning the title for Pukemiro Station at the 60th Golden Shears. Photo / Pete Nikolaison, Golden Shears

McIntyre had been in the team when the small training unit won the event for the first time last year.

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Ryka's win, in a record novice field of 68 shearers, was his fourth of the 2019-2020 season, with earlier novice final wins at the Royal Show's Great Raihania Shears in Hastings in October, the Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show in Waipukurau in November, and his home Wairoa show in January.

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He was second to finish the two sheep in the six-shearer all-male final, which he shore in 6min 18.352sec. But he had easily the best quality points to beat runner-up Michael Buick, of Pongaroa, by 4.835pts, with fastest finalist McIntyre (5min 26.354sec) missing the quality needed to claim the winning ribbon.

Novice shearing finalists await the final points. Second from right is eventual winner Ryka Swann, of Wairoa. Photo / Peter Nikolaison, Golden Shears
Novice shearing finalists await the final points. Second from right is eventual winner Ryka Swann, of Wairoa. Photo / Peter Nikolaison, Golden Shears

The Wairoa teen's win also threw down the challenge to brother Keith and father Paul as they launched their bids today in the intermediate and senior heats respectively. Keith Swann was up to the mark in his Thursday morning heats, and qualified comfortably for his grade's semifinals.

The titles are among 26 to be decided by the time the championships end with the open shearing final on Saturday night.

Ryka is at one end of the vast age range which includes the 86-year-old sole-survivor of the inaugural 1961 Open final, Southlander Ian "Snow" Harrison, who arrived in Masterton late on Wednesday to prepare for his shear today in the Over 76 Evergreens event.

Bradley's victory was her first as a woolhandler, but she already has an impressive record as a shearer, being No 1-ranked Junior nationally, male or female, in 2014-2015, and repeating the success in the Intermediate grade in 2016-2017.

Earlier this season she shore a personal best daily tally of 451 lambs, running out of sheep about 10 minutes before the end of what was to have been an eight-hour day.

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Uniquely, two of the four in her woolhandling final were from overseas, with second place going to Robyn Kraus, from Germany, and third to Grace Teate, who had earlier in the season won novice finals on successive days at Dannevirke and Marton.

Novice woolhandling final lineup from left, stadium commentator Tuma Mullins, winner Laura Bradley, runner-up Robyn Kraus, Grace Teate, third, and Shontaye Walker, fourth. Photo / Pete Nikolaison
Novice woolhandling final lineup from left, stadium commentator Tuma Mullins, winner Laura Bradley, runner-up Robyn Kraus, Grace Teate, third, and Shontaye Walker, fourth. Photo / Pete Nikolaison

Results of finals on the first day of the 60th Golden Shears international shearing and woolhandling championships in Masterton on March 4-7, 2020:

Shearing

Novice final (2 sheep)

Ryka Swann (Wairoa) 6min 18.352sec, 25.918pts, 1; Michael Buick (Pongaroa) 6min 35.053sec, 30.753pts, 2; Lachie Crafar (Kimbolton) 7min 41.119sec, 33.556pts, 3; Chief Whakaue (Tikokino) 7min 2.136sec, 33.607pts, 4; Connor McIntyre (Pongaroa) 5min 26.354pts, 5; Josh Devane (Taihape) 8min 11.972sec, 39.099pts, 6.

Student Challenge (one sheep each shearer) Pukemiro Station, Dannevirke (Connor McIntyre, Zane Rogers) 8min 21.803sec, 38.09pts, 1; Rathkeale College, Masterton (Sam Mathewson, Michael Buick) 9min 55.389sec, 2; Smedley Station, Tikokino (Chief Whakaue, Matt O'Reilly) 7min 57.366sec, 44.368pts, 3; Waipaoa Station, Gisborne (Jarem Hari, Cole Claydon) 7min 32.392sec, 49.62pts, 4; Iona College, Havelock North (Rosie Bates, Anna Rasmussen) 8min 44.21sec, 56.211pts, 5.

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Woolhandling Novice final (2 longwool fleeces): Laura Bradley (Woodville) 117.9pts, 1; Robyn Kraus (Germany) 122.3pts, 2; Grace Teate (Australia) 176.62pts, 3; Shontaye Walker (Bulls) 179.84pts, 4.