WA’s most celebrated show shearer Damien Boyle has become a legend in upholding clean shearing standards, an industry trademark he has held for more than 25 years. As a result, the 43-year-old top-gun shearer has accumulated a record 23 Perth Royal Show open shearing titles dating from 1996 to 2019 among many of his other national and international top-place finishes. “I have won many Australian titles over the last 25 years and represented the Australia team three times,” he said. “My greatest achievement outside of Australia was winning the New Zealand Merino Shears open title in Alexandra eight times with a cover comb.” Damien said the Perth Royal Show and Alexandra offered a diverse range of competitors, were well organised and he had the highest number of individual wins from those shows. “I love competition so at the end of the day, any show that has a great range of shearers fits the bill,” he said. “Competition makes me a better shearer.” Damien said it’s best to approach competitive shearing with a positive attitude and not worry about the battle on the boards. “Show shearing promotes the industry to a higher standard, brings education to the wider community and gives people in the industry something to strive towards,” he said. “Shows also allow people in the industry a chance to socialise, promote and learn.” Damien said shows also bring a platform to the agriculture schools in demonstrating to students the competitive side of shearing and wool handling. “Shearer training is a must for the younger people who are learning,” he said. “Being taught correctly from the start is paramount.” Damien said he strives to be a positive role model who doesn’t sacrifice on maintaining quality shearing standards which in-turn helps to educate the younger generation. “In competition, I set out to shear as fast as I can without sacrificing on quality,” he said. “I was able to master this style in my early years but strived to always keep learning — the key is to shear every sheep the same.” Damien comes from a dyed-in-the-wool shearing family, the son of Don Boyle, who ran a successful shearing contractor business in Katanning before developing a Merino farming enterprise now based in Broomehill. “As a family enterprise, we now run around 20,000 Merinos on 5000ha including 800ha of crop,” Damien said. Damien’s brother Brendon, who is a partner in the business and runs Boyle Shearing Contractors, obtained a world record in 2007 when he shore 973 sheep in 24 hours raising money for prostrate cancer. “I followed my dad into shearing competitions which became my sport and by the time I was 17, and able to shear 200/day, I was putting my money into the farm for our expansion,” Damien said. “Dad taught us good shearing methods which was instrumental in our upbringing.” Damien said he took to shearing very naturally but was always determined to do it properly without taking shortcuts. “I had good eye to hand co-ordination, but also worked at improving my skills,” he said. “Quality is number one in commercial shearing, which is best for the shearer and the woolgrower. Speed will come if quality and animal husbandry is maintained.” Damien said he had demonstrated quality shearing too many people who watched his style at the shows. “I proved it’s possible to win on quality, above speed,” he said. “I describe my style as all Aussie, with going bottom side up the neck and keeping the comb full and flat.” Damien, who farms with his wife, Kristy, and their children, Abby, 14, and Zac, nine, said he was keen to continue competitive shearing while he still enjoyed it.