A couple of Hawke's Bay shearing veterans have scooped the big money amid a bit of a showing of the hands of the new young guns at the end of a big first month of the 2019-2020 shearing sports season.
The way was led by John Kirkpatrick who at the age of 49 on Saturday marked 25 years since his first open final win at the Wairarapa A&P Show by winning again at the same show.
But perhaps more pertinently it was his third win in a fortnight, having opened the season with victory at the Poverty Bay show in Gisborne and then crossing the Tasman to win the Warrnambool open final west of Melbourne for a fifth time.
The three wins have taken him to a career total of at least 183, now second only to Sir David Fagan's world record of 642 for the most open-class shearing wins.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Meanwhile, Dion King, 44, backed up his Great Raihania Shears Open final and Puketapu Speedshear double of October 25 with a successful defence of the Mangawhai Tavern Speedshear title north of Auckland last Saturday, claiming first prize of $5000, the biggest on the New Zealand speedshear circuit this year.
In the midst of all this was the emergence of Napier shearer Paraki Puna in the open ranks, along with first-year open-class shearer David Gordon of Masterton, each making the Wairarapa final after the semifinal elimination of much-more favoured David Buick, of Pongaroa, and Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa.
Gordon, the 2019 New Zealand Shears Senior champion, was runner-up and Puna, the No 1 ranked senior in New Zealand in 2016-2017, was fourth.
While Gordon had reached the final of the Warrnambool event seven days earlier, it was the first open final in New Zealand for each of the two younger shearers, neither of whom had been born when Kirkpatrick first won at the top level in October 1994.
Kirkpatrick, and Gordon, had been in Warrnambool as part of a New Zealand Shears Te Kuiti team in the first leg of an annual exchange with the Warrnambool show, which included the NZ team's win in a transtasman match.
The Wairarapa show, at Clareville, near Carterton provided a return to winning form for Puna's sister, Ataneta, who won the senior woolhandling final in one of her rare competition appearances since 2013 when she added the Golden Shears Senior title to the Shears' Junior title she won two years earlier.