Things might be looking up for shearing prodigy Jack Fagan to emulate some of the feats of father Sir David Fagan following a win today in historic Golden Shears event the YFC Blue Ribbon Championship.
It was the first time in eight years of Golden Shearing that the 25-year-old from Te Kuiti has had a winner’s cheque and a victory speech, but he joins an impressive list of winners, particularly the last 20 years in the seven victors include six who’s reached the pinnacle Golden Shears Open final, and one who’s one the PGG Wrightson National Championship.
A member North King Country YFC, albeit largely inactive because of the clashes of YFC and shearing events, Fagan was today making his sixth bid for the Blue Ribbon, which dates back to the earliest days of the Golden Shears which were founded in Masterton on the initiative of Young Farmers Club members wanting to improve the competitions available in their area.
The first attempt was as a Senior-grade shearer in 2012, when he was runner-up to Ribbon winner and fellow Te Kuiti shearer Mark Grainger, and he’s made the top six in all six attempts.
He has otherwise had an impressive record, having had 26 wins in Junior, Intermediate and Senior grades in New Zealand, and three Open-class wins abroad, two in the UK including a Royal Welsh Show Open title and one in France.
He has however won more than 20 Speedshears, including the Southland All Nations Speedshear during the World shearing and woolhandling championships in Invercargill three weeks ago.
Now in his fourth season in the Open-class he has steadily improved the finals strike-rate in what he accepts is a long path stepping up to the elite grade in which only a small number of exceptionals graduating from Senior class ever start winning in their first 2-3 Open-class seasons.
Fagan was eliminated from this year’s Golden Shears championship in last night’s quarterfinals, 15th overall and just 0.4pts from the crucial 12th qualifying position, but was today looking forward to another crack next year.
Asked if he reckoned he could make the Golden Shears Open final in 12 months’ time, and aware of the post YFC achievements of such shearers as Nathan Stratford, James Fagan, Adam Brausch, David Buick, Angus Moore, Mark Grainger and Aaron Haynes, he said: “It’s good odds, then”
Cousin James Fagan won the YFC four times in a row (2003-2006), and other past winners included Jack Fagan’s uncle John in 1977 and 1978, preceding his Golden Shears Open win in 1984, and father Sir David’s three in a row (1982-1984), the prelude to his 16 wins in the Golden Shears Open Championship.
“Dad always said that you’re not a good shearer until you’ve been a shearer at least 10n years,” said Jack Fagan. “So there’s time yet.”
From Doug Laing, media officer, Shearing Sports New Zealand.