Marton woolhandler Logan Kamura has emerged as a distinct chance for the Golden Shears Open woolhandling title after beating a top field in what a former winner described as "a bit of an endurance test" at the Wairarapoa Pre-Shears Woolhandling Championships north of Masterton today.
On the eve of the start of the three-day 58th Golden Shears starting in Masterton's War Memorial Stadium tomorrow (Thursday), Kamura beat three other leading Golden Shears prospects, including hot-favourite and World champion Joel Henare, in a testing final at the pre-shears event at Massey University's Riverside Farm, at Mikimiki,
The most notable early elimination was defending pre-shears champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, winner of successive finals at Taumarunui on Friday and Apiti, on Saturday.
She got to witness rather than partake in a final of 10 fullwool fleeces per competitor, a possible first, and said: "I've never heard of 10 before. It was a bit of an endurance test."
The runner-up was Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, and Henare, who is sitting on a sequence of five Golden Shears Open titles in a row and a career tally of 99 open-class wins, had to settle for third place. Fourth place went to Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti.
It was also an endurance test in the lower grades, with 8 fleeces for the Senior final and 6 for the Junior final, both grades also having their North Island Circuit finals on the same programme.
It was a big day for Dannevirke woolhandler Ash Boyce who won both Senior finals, and in the Junior grade, the pre-shears final was won by Lucky Garrett, of Eketahuna, while the circuit final was won by prolific Junior winner Tyler Hira, of Onewhero.
The circuit's Open final will be held during the Golden Shears, giving the top competitors two major woolhandling titles to tackle on shearing's greatest stage.