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Taihape set to kick-off big weekend in North Island

It's all go for the first of two big pre-World Championships weekends in the North Island, with the Taihape A and P Show Shears starting at 8.30am today (Saturday).

With Open, Senior, Intermediate and Junior shearing and Open, Senior and Junior woolhandling starting at 8.30am, it's the first of two A-grade North Island shows over the weekend.

Competition in the same grades will take place at the Rotorua A and P Show at Ngongotaha on Sunday, starting at 9am.

There are two other shows on Saturday, with shearing only, at Warkworth, starting at 10.30am, and the only South Island competition over the weekend at Tapawera, south of Nelson, starting at 10am.

Taihape organising committee member Stu Munro said that after some cold and wet weather the conditions had settled and a fine day is expected for the show, which is expected to include a top lineup, including in-form Rowland Smith, whose four wins in the last five years are among a career total of 93 victories in the Open class in New Zealand, Australian and the UK.

While the Open woolhandling competition last year produced a surprise winner in Kim Sowry, from Northern Wairarapa, that title had previously been won by Keryn Herbert five times in a row from 2011-2015.

Among competitors expected are several from overseas, including French and Spanish shearers, although sheep transport logistics meant a special match for international teams in New Zealand for the World Championships in Invercargill on February 8-11 was unable to be arranged.

Article courtesy of Shearing Sports New Zealand