Champion woolhandler Joel Henare's unique post-retirement career continued when he won the Otago Shears' New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year title, again, on Saturday.
Henare planned to retire (or at least cut way back on the number of competitions) after he scored the 100th open final win of his career at the 2018 Golden Shears.
However, in the three years since this decision, Henare has added another 19 wins to the list.
Saturday's triumph, at Telford Polytech Farm near Balclutha, was his seventh in a row in the event and his 12th in the 14 finals since first winning the title in 2008, at the age of 15.
He rated it the "toughest event known to man", with woolhandlers working with two shearers and 13 fleeces - five full wool, four second shear and four lambs.
Henare was now well on the path in his attempt to win the Golden Shears open title for the ninth time in a row in Masterton on March 4-6, with a clean sweep at home show Poverty Bay in Gisborne and three Hawke's Bay titles, (at Hastings and Waipukurau on full-wool and Dannevirke on second-shear), behind him this season.
Father-of-three Henare also had the remarkable record of reaching the top four for the Golden Shears final 15 years in a row – every year since his first open-class season in 2006-2007.
Henare said he won't be at Gore this week to defend the Southern Shears title he won last year, in completing a Balclutha-Gore double for a fifth time, and was committed to training newcomers at a course in Gisborne during the week.
He was showing no sign of a second retirement either, and planned to tackle the three-show lead-in to the Golden Shears, at Taumarunui on February 26, Apiti the next day and the Pre-Shears Championship near Masterton on March 3.
"Just can't quite let it go, I guess," he said.
"I just love it."
On Saturday he conceded both time and board points to leading challenger Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, but hauled back the deficit with best oddments and fleece points to win by 21pts.
Kelly Macdonald, from Lake Hawea, and Tia Potae, from Milton were third and fourth, to complete a clean sweep in the final among trainers from Elite Wool Industry Training.
Destiny Paikea, of Heriot, won the senior final, from a high-quality field, and Samantha Allen, of Balclutha, won the junior final.
Ohai shearer Leon Samuels further cemented his hopes as a Golden Shears open contender when he successfully defended the Otago Shears open shearing title he won in a surprise victory 12 months earlier.
Samuels now had four big wins and a third-placing in his first Golden Shears open final last year in the last 12 months.
He featured in a battle for time honours on Saturday with Northland shearer Toa Henderson, who finished the 20 sheep in 16min 58.66sec.
Samuels was next-off six seconds later, followed by Southland hope and former Otago win Brett Roberts, reigning Golden Shears champion Rowland Smith, and Invercargill's Nathan Stratford.
While Stratford had the best pen points, Smith had the best points on the board and had enough quality to take second-place overall.
Kahn Culshaw, of Mataura, won the senior shearing title, Gore's Brodie Horrell the intermediate title, and Keahrey Manson justified the trip from King Country shearing base Piopio, to win the junior final.
Results of the Otago Shears shearing and woolhandling championships at Telford Polytech Farm, Balclutha, on Saturday, February 14, 2021:
Open final (20 sheep): Leon Samuels (Ohai) 17min 4.13sec, 55.4065pts, 1; Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 17min 36.34sec, 56.517pts, 2; Toa Henderson (Kaiwaka) 16min 58.66sec, 56.933pts, 3; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 18min 0.31sec, 57.1655pts, 4; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 17min 31.87sec, 57.9355pts, 5.
Senior final ( 12 sheep): Kahn Culshaw (Mataura) 13min 49.66sec, 49.3163pts, 1; Cayzer Wedd (Napier/Oamaru) 13min 40.03sec, 50.1682pts, 2; Braydon Clifford (Waikaka) 14min 18.56sec, 51.2613pts, 3; Marley Waihape (Mataura) 14min 25.75sec, 52.7042pts, 4; Taare Edwards (Taumarunui) 14min 30.75sec, 53.3708pts, 5.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Brodie Horrell (Gore) 7min 44.53sec, 28.8932pts, 1; Silas Horrell (Gore) 7min 49.94sec, 28.997pts, 2; John Cherrington (Huntly) 8min 27.94sec, 30.397pts, 3; James Wilson (Ryall Bush) 9min 37.12sec, 37.0227pts, 4; Alice Watson (Blenheim) 10min 31.69sec, 37.7512pts, 5.
Junior final (4 sheep): Keahrey Manson (Piopio) 7min 24.13sec, 27.2065pts, 1; Hamu Henderson (Kaiwaka) 7min 31.35sec, 27.8175pts, 2; Jack Pringle (Balclutha) 7min 48.12sec, 32.156pts, 3; Jordan White (Balclutha) 8min 8.03sec, 32.4015pts, 4; Foonie Waihape (Alexandra) 7min 43.97sec, 35.1985pts, 5.
New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year:
Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 175.068pts, 1; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 196.456pts, 2; Kally Macdonald (Lake Hawea) 248.21pts, 3; Tia Potae (Milton) 353.766pts, 4.
Senior final: Destiny Paikea (Heriot) 298.81pts, 1; Heaven Little (Balclutha) 323.8pts, 2; Lashara Anderson (Christchurch) 357.25pts, 3; Nat Collier (Gore) 447.762pts, 4.
Junior final: Samantha Allen (Balclutha) 188.44pts, 1; Brittany Kellet (Ashburton) 194.38pts, Gypsy Hoani (Gore) 209.13pts, 3; Tia Manson (Piopio) 230.47pts, 4.