SHEARING and wool handling competitions have resumed in Australia after a 12-month COVID-19-imposed break, with events planned in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
In contrast to the situation in New Zealand, where coronavirus restrictions recently halted the 2021 Golden Shears championships, Australia’s COVID-19 situation is now allowing organisers in some states to plan events.
Australia did not send trans-Tasman shearing and wool handling teams to New Zealand this year because of COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions.
First eastern state events in South Australia
Australian shearing and wool handling events started at the Wagin Woolorama last weekend and will re-start in the eastern states at South Australia’s Mt Pleasant Show on 20 March with events in all shearing classes — learners, novice, intermediate, senior and open – but no wool handling. Entries will be taken on the day between 8.30-9.30am.
Sports Shear Australia president Tom Kelly said COVID-19 has held up shearing and wool handling competitions for the past 12 months, but the Wagin events went well under COVIDSafe guidelines.
First Victorian shearing events at Natimuk
He said the first events in Victoria this year will be held at the Natimuk Show on 27 March, with novice, intermediate and open shearing, and novice and open wool handling events. Interested competitors are advised to pre-enter to guarantee a position in what could be limited entries. Competitors should contact the show secretary via [email protected] or text or ring 0429 328 600 to get an entry form. Chief shearing steward Michael Sudholz can also be contacted on 0417 585 747.
Shearing and wool handling events are planned for the Campbell Town Show in Tasmania on 28 & 29 May, according to Sports Shear Australia Tasmania committee member Steve Rigby.
“All going well, if COVID stays the same it will be all systems go at the Campbelltown Show.”
Show administrator Sophie Weeding said entries can be made online at http://www.campbelltownshow.com.au/
Mr Kelly said shearing and wool handling competitions are a huge part of the wool industry.
“They are the real benchmarks of quality.
“COVID has been a massive distraction for us and it has taken us off the ground, but Sports Shear Australia is quite healthy and has been adhering to the state and federal COVID laws, and now we are just starting to gradually be able to get active again.”
He said all events will have to comply with COVIDSafe rules on social distancing, hand sanitiser use and a register of attendance, but competitors will not have to wear masks.
No events organised for NSW or Queensland
SSA New South Wales president Dayne West said the Dubbo Show is not going ahead in May and the first shearing/wool handling events in the state this year might not be until August if the Nyngan Ag Fair goes ahead.
SSA Queensland president Simone Sinclair Mills said the first events would have been at Gundagai in May, but the town’s show has been called off. SSA Queensland secretary Victoria Nancarrow said unfortunately due to the drought and decline of sheep, especially Merino numbers, a sports shearing event would also not be held at the St George and Bollon shows.
“Sports Shear Queensland will hope to gather for their AGM soon and we will discuss going forward.”
Mr Kelly said the state industries are working towards selecting teams for the national shearing and wool handling titles in Bendigo in October, when the national shearing and wool handler teams will be selected for the world championships in Scotland in July 2022.