The Hawke's Bay women who stepped out of the comfort zones of professional day jobs such as accountancy, optometry, dentistry and policing to learn to shear aren't resting on their laurels after their big Women and Wool fundraiser at the Royal New Zealand Show.

Along with sponsorship, and auction, and a wool-sale disposal at the show in Hastings of four bales of the wool they'd shorn, they'd raised more than $30,000 for farmer support charity Farmstrong.

But less than 48 hours after five of the seven were back on the board in the Novice shearing event at the Great Raihania Shears on the last day of the three-day show, and not without further success.

Women and Wool shear winner Maureen Chaffey, a buyer with Richard Kell Wool, who on Wednesday was cloaked with a memorial korowai from the family of the late Koro Mullins, who would have compered and commentated the event, was third in Friday's competition event.


Confessing that she and the others had caught the sheep-shearing bug of "sheep s**t on the brain" despite initially saying no to the idea of even picking-up a handpiece, 42-year-old Chaffey said: "I want to do the Golden Shears. We're hoping all of us will go. That's our goal."

Some may head for the Wairarapa show in Carterton this weekend, the Manawatu show in Feilding a week later and the CHB show in Waipukurau on November 16.

"Early-on we got told about this sheep s**t on the brain," said Chaffey, almost disbelieving the "buzz" that had taken over as the women got into the routine of Saturday shearing with contractor Colin Watson Paul and shearers such as champion Rowland Smith and other work crew Pura Smith, over several months. "But, it does get on the brain," she said.

On first impressions, the prospects for the 60 Golden Shears in Masterton in March are promising, with Chaffey having been beaten on Friday only by Wairoa 13-year-old Ryka Swann, and King Country youngster Tana Barrowcliffe, both from families entrenched in shearing sports competition.

Fellow trailblazing Women and Wool finalists Sue Fowler (runner-up), Kendell Reidy (third) and Lisa Chadwick (fourth) also lined-up in Friday's Novice grade.

While the women claimed much of the limelight, there was still room for the guns, and a minor upset in the Great Raihania Shears Open final on Friday.

Unbeaten in New Zealand in a year, including 17 consecutive wins, and runner-up in the World Championships final in France in July, Rowland Smith was the favourite, but missed out by just 0.1pts as five-times former winner Dion King scored his first victory in four years. King made it a big double by also winning the first Puketapu Hotel Speedshear on Friday night.

* More Show stories on Thursday in The Country, Hawke's Bay Today.