AUSTRALIAN-BASED New Zealand-born shearer and contractor Floyde Neil has won the world’s richest speed shear prize of A$20,000 for 20.65 seconds of skill at the Oberon QuickShear on Saturday.
Neil was the quickest in a six-man final that featured five New Zealanders in the eastern New South Wales town.
The shearer has shorn world record tallies on Merino lambs and ewes in the last 14 months, and runs the shearing contracting firm Shear Pride from Boyup Brook in Western Australia. He had been shearing in New Zealand and flew back to Australia to tackle the event’s crossbred ewes at Oberon, 180km west of Sydney.
He won $A20,000 first prize ahead of runner-up Australian-based Tipene Te Whata, from Northland in New Zealand. Third place went to Southland veteran Darin Forde, fourth place went to Stacey Te Huia, a North Island shearer now based in Southland and Otago. Fifth place was taken by the only Australian finalist Warwick McMaster, and sixth was Masterton shearer Paerata Abraham.
Defending champion Jimmy Samuels, of Marton, who shore 20.78sec to win last year’s final, was eliminated in the heats, while world eight hour strong wool lamb shearing record holder and prolific speed shear winner Jack Fagan, of Te Kuiti, and Australia-based Jovan Taiki, originally from Porangahau, who won the $A10,000 first prize in 2022, were eliminated in the semi-finals.
After the Oberon event, Neil was heading back to New Zealand for events including the Golden Shears in Masterton on February 29-March 2, and the New Zealand Shears on Te Kuiti on April 4-6, both of which include speed shear events.
There is also a series of speed shears around the Southern Shears shearing and woolhandling championships that will be held in Gore on Friday and Saturday, including the Southern Field Days Speed Shear at Waimumu on Friday.