There are those in Scotland who say Katie Reid should be a lawyer.
But tomorrow(Saturday) she could become a Golden Shears shearing champion, and asked what might become of her degree in law from Stirling University she says: "It probably means I'm going to be a farmer."
Her emergence as a prospect for the Junior title at the glamour event of World shearing has come in just a couple of months, with three wins in six finals throughout the country dating back to the Northern Southland Community Shears near Lumsden on January 18 and culminating with wins at Taumarunui last Friday and Pahiatua on Sunday, and third place among 12 in the Golden Shears Junior Championships semi-finals today.
Leading overseas challenger and South Island-based opposition Henry Mayo, from England, was eliminated in the semi-final, the 28-year-old Reid's toughest remaining opposition being top qualifier Topia Barrowcliffe, of Piopio, second-to-top qualifier Brodie Horrell, of Gore, and top North Island hope and fourth-qualifier Atawhai Hadfield, of Ruakituri, Northern Hawke's Bay.
From a farm in Perthshire, where her father is looking after her flock of 100 scottish blackface sheep (the "blackies"), Reid started to come to grips with the woolshed as a woolhandler and crutcher while living in Australia, but returned to Scotland to "get a real job", or more to the point a BA in law.
She returned downunder last summer working for Southern Hawke's Bay contractors Paewai Mullins Shearing, and came back this summer buoyed by some success in the UK, and armed with extra skills from the shearing courses in Britain.
While clearly superior in the first of the two semi-final heats today, she said: "I don't know if I'm in the final yet."
She needn't have worried, and by the time she flies home on Wednesday for the lambing beat, accompanied by partner and Ireland World championships team member Denis O'Sullivan she will have at least a Golden Shears ribbon of one of the six hues.
No woman has yet won the Golden Shears Open, Senior or Intermediate titles, and if Reid has her day she will be only the third to win the Junior title, after Canadian Fiona Nettleton in 1988 and Jane Leogreen, of Dannevirke, in 1995. Only nine winners in the grades have come from overseas.