Age may have been one difference for octogenarian shearer Ian Harrison as he shore at the 60th Golden Shears today.

But another was that the result didn't matter to the 86-year-old sole-survivor of the first of the famous Golden shears Open finals from 1961.

Barely troubled by his one-sheep appearance back on the stage in Masterton's War Memorial Stadium, he was more interested in catching-up with old friends, and wasn't troubled by the fact he'd have to wait till morning to find-out the official result.

"I'll be catching with a lot of them tonight," he said back at the motel swapping singlet and moccasins for something more formal for the Thursday night VIP get-together.

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"That's the biggest thing, really," he said. "Meeting guys you haven't seen for years. I've stayed with many of them over the years, and they've come to stay at home. You make a lot of friends over the years."

Sole-surviving inaugural Golden Shears Open finalist Ian Harrison back on the famous Masterton stage at the 60th celebration of the big event. Photo / Pete Nikolaison, Golden Shears
Sole-surviving inaugural Golden Shears Open finalist Ian Harrison back on the famous Masterton stage at the 60th celebration of the big event. Photo / Pete Nikolaison, Golden Shears

Known to friends and the community as "Snow", he surprised everyone with his manipulation of the sheep and shearing of the beast, weighing about 65kg, he reckoned.

Truth is that while it's a long time since he shore more than a few sheep in a day, and gave up farming several years ago, he's still particularly active.

He took up bowling, and there's a certain rig of authority to the advice: "I play a bit. It kind of dictates my life. Take it up before you retire."

He's won 22 titles with clubs on the greens of Southland, and also won two Western Southland sub-centre titles, including a singles.

He will have barely settled-in back in Invercargill when it's off to the rinks again, for the Southland Friendship Club tournament on Tuesday.

He was one of six shearer in the Over 76ers Evergreens title chase, with more than 20 others competing across two other grades of those 55 and over, and in the Evergreens woolhandling.

They're among about 480 expected to have competed by the End of the open shearing heats on Friday afternoon, with one day left until the major events are decided on Saturday.

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The pace picked-up, with Intermediate and Senior shearing heats, woolhandling and woolpressing events, and the semifinals in the Junior and Intermediate shearing.

The finals of each of the two grades will be held on Friday afternoon, and qualifiers in order of qualifying are:

Junior finalists: Sam Jones (Wales), Destiny Paikea (Heriot), Ellis Rees (Wales), Adam Gordon (Masterton), James Wilson (Winton), Kyle Rhodes (Wairoa).

Intermediate finalists: Cullem Pritchard (Pongaroa), Manahi Fox (Masterton), Aled Llyr Evans (Wales), Braden Clifford (Waikaka), Matthew Hunt (Waikaka), Cory Barrowcliffe (Piopio).