Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan has expressed the shock, grief and condolences among the shearing community after the sudden death of Master Woolhandler, former World Championships runner-up and 2008 Golden Shears open woolhandling champion Ronnie Goss.
Goss passed away on her 53rd birthday on Friday while at the Taumarunui Shears, where she had competed in the woolhandling.
According to Shearing Sports New Zealand records Goss won 53 open finals, including her Golden Shears open title, New Zealand open championships finals in Te Kuiti in 1999 and 2003, and several North Island Woolhandling Circuit finals.
She reached the Golden Shears open final six times, and as well as the 2014 World Championships in Ireland, represented New Zealand in 10 transtasman woolhandling test matches.
Husband Alan also won a Golden Shears title, in the 1985 intermediate shearing final.
Goss' first open final win was at the Wairarapa A and P Show in Carterton in 1995 and her most recent at long-time home show Apiti in 2017.
It was fitting that the open final at Apiti on Saturday was won by niece Angela Stevens, who had been taught her woolhandling by Goss.
Sir David Fagan, who was at Taumarunui on Friday judging shearing events, described the loss as a "huge tragedy".
"Naturally we're all feeling deeply for her family, and the whole of the shearing community will be supporting Alan and the family," he said.
"The whole community is devastated, and it was the right thing to cancel the woolhandling final on Friday – the competitors and the judges were in complete shock."
Fagan said the acclaiming of Goss as a Master Woolhandler was ultimate recognition of her achievements and mana, via nomination from her peers and unanimous vote by the sports national committee.
"Both personally and on behalf of Shearing Sports New Zealand I offer our sincere condolences," he said.
Former Golden Shears championships society president Mavis Mullins, who was also twice a Golden Shears Open woolhandling champion highlighted the universal grief, saying there were just "no words" to describe the sorrow in the community, given the respect held for Goss across the industry and sport.
"We are a tight community and we all know each other, globally," she said.
"Ronnie is a legend."