Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan proved a more-than-handy tour guide and shearing mentor in a 12-hour round trip of almost 900km to Kaikohe and back on Saturday when he claimed only his second Open-final win in New Zealand.
In the wagon for the trip were also France international Thimoleon Resneau and sisters Eleonore and Jalle Resneau. All ended ended up with prize-winning cheques, including Eleonore Resneau's win in the Senior final.
Working with Fagan in King Country in the further cementing of a relationship which led last year to France being named to host the next World championships in Le Dorat, Central France, in July 2019, it was the last call for the siblings before flying out of Auckland for France on Sunday.
But it's only the start of the Northland long-hauls for Fagan who has joined the Warkworth show team in a new teams competition in which he must compete in at least four shows in the region over the next few weeks for the points to count.
The other shows in the inaugural ANZ Northland Shearing Competition are at Warkworth next Saturday, Paparoa (North Kaipara) on February 3, Dargaville (Northern Wairoa) on February 10, and North Hokianga on February 17, with a final at Kumeu on March 10.
Fagan is in his fourth season in the Open class and had wins top event s in Wales and France before her claimed his first Open-class win in New Zealand at the Wairarapa A and P Show less than three months ago.
Despite the experience of having shorn in most of the top competitions in New Zealand, the UK and France, Fagan still found tough opposition in mainly-Northland competitor Neville Osborne, of Dargaville, in a four-man final of 10 sheep each on Saturday.
Osborne won the race by 37 seconds, in a time of 10min 30sec, but Fagan had the better quality points good enough to secure victory over all by 3.75pts, Thimoleon Resnear taking third place.
Eleonore Resneau was last to finish the Senior final, but only three-quarters of a minute after first-man-off and eventual runner-up Steve Coop, of Wellsford. The frenchwoman claimed the win by a margin of over 5pts.
"It was nice for them to finish on a high," said Fagan. "And it was good to get involved with some new people from Heartland New Zealand."
Results from the Kaikohe AP and I Show Shears at Kaikohe on Saturday, January 20, 2018:
Open final (10 sheep): Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 11min 7sec, 44.35pts, 1; Neville Osborne (Dargaville) 10min 30sec, 48.1pts, 2; Thimoleon Resneau (France) 12min 26sec, 59.2pts, 3; Vaughan Craig (Whangarei) 12min 20sec, 70.2pts, 4.
Senior final (8 sheep): Eleonore Resneau (France) 10min 25sec, 45.08pts, 1; Steve Coop (Wellsford) 9min 38sec, 50.56pts, 2; Paikea Waller (Dargaville) 10min 21sec, 50.72pts, 3; Jalle Resneau (France) 10min 21sec, 51.88pts, 4.
Intermediate final (3 sheep): Alan Boler (Wellsford) 4min 58sec, 27.24pts, 1; Courtney Flower (Dargaville) 5min 3sec, 32.82pts, 2; Terrence Paki (Hokianga) 6min 11sec, 44.52pts, 3; Ken Thomas (Okaihau) 5min 25sec, 60.25pts, 4.
Junior final (2 sheep): Hazel Wood (Ruawai) 6min 8sec, 31.9pts, 1; Callum Eagles (Taheke) 6min 15sec, 41.25pts, 2; Danielle Boyd (Dargaville) 7min 25sec, 44.75pts, 3.