Former MP and three-time Golden Shears open shearing champion Colin King hadn't shorn a sheep in 10 years - until last weekend at the Flaxbourne A and P Show.
On Saturday he'll have another go, back to where the shearing competition began – at the Oxford A and P Show in North Canterbury.
King, now 71, was the National MP for Kaikoura from 2005-2024 and now lives in Christchurch.
He will shear in a special three-man event to mark the 50th anniversary of shearing at the Oxford A and P Show.
Competitive shearing wasn't high on the priority list at the time of the first Show, and King had to be rounded up (much like the sheep), to take part.
"I would have been shearing about 300 a day," King said.
"All I can remember about the day is think I shore three sheep and sat down and watched the rest of the day."
Back then, shearing was seen as a way to get into a farm, rather than a sport and King didn't take it "seriously" until several years later, about 1978-1979.
However it was in 1982 that he became the first, and still only, left-handed shearer to win the Golden Shears open final in Masterton, and one of the few Golden Shears open champions who never shore in anything other than the open grade.
He repeated the achievement in 1988 and 1989, and also won a world teams title in England in 1984.
King warmed up for this weekend's exercise by winning a "Cockies" event at last Sunday's Flaxbourne A and P show in small Marlborough township Ward.
Despite a small entry of less than 30 shearers across the classes, it was an interesting gathering of shearers, including King, two modern-day national open shearing champions, and a former Crown prosecutor who gave up the courtroom in Napier to go back to his rural roots and the woolshed in Marlborough.
PGG Wrightson national shearing champion Angus Moore won the day's open final by 0.26pts from 2020 New Zealand Winter Comb title winner Troy Pyper, of Cheviot.
The legal eagle in the mix was Chris Gullidge, who was third in the intermediate event, his first appearance in Shearing Sports New Zealand competition results.
Now competition for open shearers in Oxford on Saturday will heat up with New Zealand representative, national rankings leader and Wairarapa farmer and shearer David Buick declaring he'll compete, en route to his defence of the New Zealand lamb shearing title at the Mackenzie A and P Show in Fairlie on Easter Monday.
Buick's son, Michael, will also compete, in the junior grade.
King is expected to line-up against Oxford locals Rod Kidd and Alan Thompson, and there will be keen younger competition in intermediate shearers Ben Forrester and Chase Rattray and junior Reuben King and Timo Hicks, who have all won places in a North Canterbury-Marlborough development circuit team to compete at the New Zealand Shears which end the shearing season at Te Kuiti on April 8-10.
King recalled many shearers who'd gone to university and developed significant careers outside of shearing and agriculture.
He attributed this, and the passion within the shearing industry, to the camaraderie and the honesty, and conceded he wasn't so sure politics held quite the same qualities.
As for shearing and the wool industry, it was all worth hanging on to - something some might find difficult to do with the sheep at Oxford, he quipped.
Competition organiser Noel Handley, a blade shearer now worrying about the dwindling numbers among those wielding the hand-slippers, said the shearers face two-tooth ewes which were "pretty big and solid."
Shearer Angus Moore from Ward organised the Flaxbourne competition. He runs a shearing gang out of Seddon with his wife Ratapu.
Moore said sheep providers were among the unsung heroes of shearing competitions.
He was rapt with the sheep on hand at last Sunday's show, provided by Omega Seafoods owner and landowner Chris Redwood.
"Big thanks to Chris and Trish Redwood who purchased sheep especially for the day as there were none due to the dry spell," Moore said.
Results of the Flaxbourne A and P Show Shears at Ward on Sunday, March 28, 2021:
Open final (20 sheep): Angus Moore (Seddon) 17min 19.35sec, 63.62pts, 1; Troy Pyper (Cheviot) 16min 38.65sec, 63.88pts, 2; Dave Brooker (Sefton) 19min 7.75sec, 76.34pts, 3; Chris Jones (Renwick) 20min 26.91sec, 77.3pts, 4.
Senior final (8 sheep): Scott McKay (Kaikoura) 12min 38.75sec, 52.94pts, 1; Josh Quinn (Seddon) 12min 27.46sec, 53.37pts, 2.
Intermediate final (4 sheep): John Cherrington (Huntly) 5min 58.4sec, 27.92pts, 1; Radar Thompson (Ward) 6min 58.85sec, 45.69pts, 2; Chris Gullidge (Seddon) 6min 34.75sec, 67.74pts, 3.
Junior final (2 sheep): Timo Hicks (Tapawera) 7min 27.97sec, 41.9pts, 1; Paddy Smith Kerry (-) 6min 39.88sec, 65.49pts, 2.
Cockies (1 sheep): Colin King (Kaikoura) 2min 29.5sec, 12.48pts, 1; Mike Forsyth (Seddon) 2min 3.56sec, 18.18pts, 2; Billy Collins (-) 1min 55.22sec, 24.76pts, 3; Mark Taggart (Springlands) 2min 29.21sec, 29.46pts, 4.