There was double delight for the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships last night at the New Zealand Event Association's Annual Awards in Auckland.
The event was last night named Best International Event while ILT Stadium Southland took out the Best Industry Supplier category as venue for the 2017 Championships held in Invercargill in February this year.
NZ Shearing Foundation and Organising Committee Chairman Tom Wilson was elated with the accolade.
"I'm speechless really. It was an honour just to be short-listed as a finalist but to win it is something else. I think it's a real boost for our sport and industry. We've got amazing athletes who are incredible skilled at what they do and to open up the spectacle and drama of the sport to a whole new audience as we did in February makes all the hard work worthwhile."
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"It really was a team effort. To have all our organising committee and our Event Manager Jude (McNab) here, I'm just so happy for all of them and for the shearing and Southland communities and our wonderful funders and sponsors who made this event what it was," Mr Wilson said.
ILT Stadium Southland General Manager Nigel Skelt believed it was a great night for Southland.
"It's been some night for us. I think it really shows what's possible down here. I remember our first chat with Tom and Jude about hosting the World Champs and we saw the potential but to be honest I had no idea what it would turn into."
"It has certainly been one of the most successful events we have been a part of and I think it sends a great message to the country about the level of delivery and community support we can provide in Southland. I'm thrilled for the ILT Stadium team, who dared to dream and worked tirelessly over massive hours to pull off a world class event," Mr Skelt said.
The awards follow earlier successes for double shearing world championship winner John Kirkpatrick, who was named Hawke's Bay Sportsperson of the Year and his team mate Nathan Stratford who won the People's Choice Award at the Southland Sports Awards. Organising committee member Mike Hogan was named Southland Administrator of the Year.
This week, woolhandling world champion Joel Henare was named a dual finalist for next month's Gisborne Tairawhiti's Logans Sporting Excellence Awards, for both Sportsman of the Year and Team of the Year with team mate Maryanne Baty.