Retirement after 10 years of top international sport seemed great for multiple World, Golden Shears and New Zealand woolhandling champion Joel Henare.
But being back may be even greater for the 28-year-old father-of-three and defending Golden Shears open champion.
Having barely taken a break, Henare won the Northern Southland Community Shears open title for the fourth time in five years last Friday.
Having declared a retirement late last summer, Henare initially came back for the national Corriedale Championships in Christchurch in November.
He then confirmed immediately after championing the fleeces of the longwool ewes at Lowther, near Lumsden, that he'd back up the next day to defend the national crossbred lambs woolhandling title in Winton on Saturday.
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While that did not bring further success, Southland has still been good to Henare, being where he won the world individual and teams titles in 2017, repeating a double he scored in Masterton in 2012.
The other big winner on the day was North Canterbury-based Southland shearer Troy Pyper who won the 20-sheep shearing final by just 0.21pts from fellow New Zealand representative David Buick, of Pongaroa, in northern Wairarapa.
Leon Samuels, of Ohai, took third place overall with the fastest time of 17 min 4848.83sec, pipping Pyper to the post by just under five seconds.
Defending champion Brett Roberts, of Mataura, was fourth.
The senior shearing final was won by Brandon Maguire Ratima, of Winton, the intermediate final provided the first South Island win for Daniel Biggs, of Mangamahu Valley, north of Whanganui, and the junior final was won by James Wilson, of Ryall Bush.
The senior woolhandling final was won by Sarah Davis, of Rerewhakaaitu, near Rotorua, and the junior woolhandling final was won by Balclutha-based Heaven Little.
It was a big day for Japanese shearer and woolhandler Yuki Yamamoto who, from almost 90 shearers and woolhandlers in the championships, was the only one to contest both shearing and woolhandling.
She was runner-up in the junior woolhandling final and scored the best quality marks in the junior shearing heats, but did not reach the final.
Originally from Nagoya, Yamamoto (33) has also worked in Scotland and Australia. She had been racking up the competition appearances and was placed third in a junior shearing final at Reefton in 2018.
Following in the footsteps of trailblazing Japanese shearer Shun Oishi, Yamamoto said: "I love everything about the shearing work, especially the team working together".
She will be returning to Australia soon, and then Japan to teach others to shear.
RESULTS from the Northern Southland Community Shears at Five Rivers, Lumsden, on Friday, January 17, 2020:
Open final (20 sheep): Troy Pyper (Invercargill/Waikari) 17min 53.71sec, 63.0355pts, 1; David Buick (Pongaroa) 18min 22.12sec, 63.056pts, 2; Leon Samuels (Ohai) 17min 48.83sec, 64.2415pts, 3; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 18min 14.36sec, 64.868pts, 4; Casey Bailey (Riverton) 19min 3.58sec, 66.979pts, 5.
Senior final (12 sheep): Brandon Maguire Ratima (Winton) 13min 12.73sec, 48.7198sec, 1; Kahn Kulshaw (Mataura) 13min 54.27sec, 51.3802pts, 2; Simon Goss (Mangamahu) 13min 39.05sec, 52.2858pts, 3; Chris Malcolm (Winton) 14min 34.2sec, 53.0433pts, 4; Mason Adams (Lumsden) 15min 41.37sec, 56.8185pts, 5.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 9min 4.8sec, 32.24pts, 1; Brayden Clifford (Waikaka) 9min 56.83sec, 38.5082pts, 2; Hamish Lee (Winton) 9min 10.9sec, 39.045pts, 3; Matt Hunt (Waikaka) 8min 31.8sec, 42.09pts, 4; Brodie Horrell (Gore) 10min 10.86sec, 44.8763pts, 5.
Junior final (4 sheep): James Wilson (Ryall Bush) 9min 1.64sec, 37.582pts, 1; Wiremu Pewhairangi (Mataura) 9min 21.67sec, 40.8335pts, 2; Jimmy Napier (Riversdale) 10min 5.83sec, 41.5415pts, 3; Eli Winders (Invercargill) 10min 30.52sec, 44.026pts, 4; Keith Evans (Shropshire, England) 9min 51.46sec, 47.823pts, 5.
Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 116.742pts, 1; Tina Elers (Mataura) 210.86pts, 2; Candy Hiri (Gore) 212.766pts, 3.
Senior final: Sarah Davis (Rotorua) 113.728pts, 1; Lashara Anderson (Christchurch) 144.396pts, 2; Sunnii Te Whare (Christchurch) 147.992pts, 3.
Junior final: Heaven Little (Masterton/Balclutha) 145.948pts, 1; Yuki Yamamoto (Nagoya, Japan) 165.24pts, 2; Samantha Allen (Balclutha) 181.17pts, 3.