Champion Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith won't be taking his foot off the pedal if he wins another Golden Shears Open title next month and with it the chance to regain the world title later this year.
The 32-year-old father-of-three and Maraekakaho shearer and farmer, who won the world title in Ireland in 2014, is again hot favourite to dominate shearing's glamour 20 minutes in Masterton on the night of March 2.
Victory would give him one of the two machine-shearing berths in the Shearing Sports New Zealand team for the 18th world event in the central France village of Le Dorat on July 1-7.
Even if he wins he says he's committed to shearing out the complete home season, including the New Zealand Shears in Te Kuiti where the second position will be decided on March 30.
He was part of a Hawke's Bay clean sweep of all four titles at the Te Puke A&P Show on Saturday, his eighth win in the eight events he's contested this year starting with the Wairoa A&P Show on January 19.
The campaign steps up a notch when he flies south tomorrow for the Southern Shears in Gore, from which he will fly to Auckland on Sunday with several other competitors, including reigning world champion and fellow Hawke's Bay gun John Kirkpatrick and at least three others, to compete at the Counties Shears later that day in Pukekohe.
It sounds like madness, but Smith say he enjoys the shows, and it was at Pukekohe two years ago that he claimed his 100th open final victory.
On current form it could be 145 by the time he gets back to the farm on Sunday night, and including a three-day Taumarunui, Apiti and Pahiatua treble on the weekend before the February 28-March 2, it could be 150 by mid-March.
The Northland-raised shearer is fourth on a list of all-time wins, headed by Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman and global shearing legend Sir David Fagan's 42, and 2008 world champion Paul Avery and Kirkpatrick's records, both between 150 and 200.
Saturday's win was his first at Te Puke, meaning he has won open titles at 31 of the 59 shearing venues currently on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar. Fagan's 642 wins included victories at 25 of the current venues, and 26 where shearing competitions are no longer staged.
It came while Kirkpatrick was in Balclutha finishing runner-up in the Otago Shears Open final won by rising Southland star Brett Roberts, who also has Hawke's Bay Ngati Pahauwera connections through grandfather Cliff Waihape, also once a Golden Shears quarter finalist.
Hawke's Bay's other winners at Te Puke were senior shearer Ricci Stevens, of Napier, Elsthorpe farmer Mark Ferguson in the intermediate grade, and teenager Atawhai Hadfield, of Ruakituri, scoring his seventh win of the season in the Junior grade.
RESULTS from the Te Puke A&P Show Shears on Saturday, February 9
Open final (15 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 13min 4sec, 44.667pts, 1; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 12min 56sec, 46.933pts, 2; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 13min 40sec, 51.467pts, 3; Digger Balme (Te Kuiti) 12min 42sec, 51.767pts, 4.
Open Plate (6 sheep): James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 6min 50sec, 24.5pts, 1; Turi Edmonds (Raetihi) 6min 9sec, 24.95pts, 2; Marshall Guy (Kaeo) 6min 23sec, 25.65pts, 3; Willie McSkimming (Taumarunui) 6min 35sec, 27.083pts, 4.
Senior final (7 sheep): Ricci Stevens (Napier) 8min 21sec, 33.621pts, 1; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 8min 36sec, 35.8pts, 2; Pauline Bolay (Canada) 8min 31sec, 35.836pts, 3; David Hodge (Te Puke) 8min 34sec, 39.986pts, 4.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): Mark Ferguson (Elsthorpe) 7min 21sec, 31.85pts, 1; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 7min 3sec, 31.95pts, 2; Keith Swann (Wairoa) 7min 28sec, 33.4pts, 3; Liam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 7min 12sec, 33.6pts, 4.
Junior final (3 sheep): Atawhai Hadfield (Ruakituri) 5min 29sec, 27.117pts, 1; Levi King (Gisborne) 5min 35sec, 28.417pts, 2; Topia Barrowcliffe (Piopio) 5min 55sec, 28.75pts, 3; Matthew Smith (Otorohanga) 6min 58sec, 31.567pts, 4.
MAJOR shearing results from the Otago Shears:
CP Wool International Series Second Test (12 sheep): New Zealand 106.0708pts (David Buick 13min 48.35sec, 53.0008pts; Nathan Stratford 14min 59.12sec, 53.706pts) beat Wales 105.505pts (Lloyd Rees 13min 95.16sec, 62.258pts; Aled Jones 14min 54.94sec, 63.247pts) by 18.8342pts. New Zealand lead the series 2-0. The Third test is at the Southern Shears in Gore on February 16.
Open final (20 sheep): Brett Roberts (Mataura) 18min 29.35sec, 62.4175pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 18min 53.94sec, 63.447pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 19min 45.69sec, 64.2845pts, 3; Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 18min 20.09sec, 64.9545pts, 4; David Buick (Pongaroa) 19min 54.19sec, 66.1595pts, 5.