It wasn’t so much the title he wanted but it’ll do for Napier shearer Ricci Stevens after he won the Junior woolhandling title at the 57th Golden Shears in Masterton today.
The New Zealand Junior shearing champion in 2015, a Golden Shears Intermediate finalist last year and a consistent performer in his first season of Senior shearing, Stevens had been among the favourites for the Golden Shears Senior championship but was eliminated in its heats.
Showing versatility across the skills of the woolshed, he had had however on Friday won the Triathlon for points scored in heats across all three disciplines of shearing, woolhandling and woolpressing, leaving the woolhandling final as the main goal on the last day.
Stevens said he took up competing in woolhandling competitions last year to fill in time between shearing events on the show circuit, and although he had been in the winner’s circle and in other finals in country shows he was surprised to win today.
“It’s a bit of shock,” he said after beating an all-east coast North Island final, in which the runner up was 2013 Novice winner Tameka Hema, of Gisborne.
The win gave her some right to family bragging rights after wife Angela missed out on a place in the Senior woolhandling final.
Golden Shears Junior woolhandling final: Ricci Stevens (Napier) 180.48pts, 1; Tameka Hema (Gisborne) 192.98pts, 2; Sarah Davis (Rerewkaaitu) 193.286pts, 3; Bianca Hawea (Masterton) 194.038pts, 4.
From Doug Laing, media officer, Shearing Sports New Zealand.