Cool Luke pips the champ
Boyup Brook shearer Luke Harding was in spectacular form when he took out the open final shearing competition at the Perth Royal Show on Saturday.
It was the 32-year-old’s first open title at the show and he won against five of WA’s best shearing talents.
The full-time shearer put in his best effort to win against 23-time open shearing champion Damien Boyle, who shore very clean to take a respectable second place.
Boyle said he gave it his best, scoring only seven penalty points, an almost unheard-of feat.
For Harding, it was sweet victory, even if he won by the narrowest of margins — a mere 0.7 of a point in front of Boyle.
“It was surreal. I was up against the best in WA,” he said.
The two top-gun shearers were side-by-side on the boards, going blow for blow, while being urged on knowing it was anyone’s game in the six-competitor final.
Harding finished 10 two-year-old ewes in 18 minutes and 13 seconds.
Callum O’Brien earned a third-place finish.
In accepting his perpetual open trophy, Harding thanked the WA Competition Shearing Association and the Royal Agricultural Society of WA.
“Thanks to my wife Jess. The reason I do this is because of all the good camaraderie in the sport,” Harding said.
Mrs Harding also competed successfully at the show in the open final woolhandling event, taking second place behind Aroha Garvin, of York.
Shearing commentator Kevin Gellatly said WA had some of the world’s best shearers and woolhandlers, who were regularly working in wool sheds around the State.
“Any woolgrower would be proud to have some of our best working in their shed,” he said.
The Hardings are regular competitors during the WACSA season and are firm believers in the advantage of their participation and support for shearing.
“Shearing competition has helped me ten-fold in my craft. It has taken me to the next level,” Mr Harding said.
He hoped the competition at the show may have inspired some interest from the crowd.
“The industry needs more entrants. It is hard work, but there are rewards. I do it because I love it,” he said.
During the intermediate shearing competition, there were two female competitors, who took it to the boards against four male shearers.
Boyup Brook shearer Danielle Mauger, 23, who shore very clean, said it didn’t worry her being against male rivals.
“I love shearing and do it full time for work and my dream is to compete in an open final,” she said.
Mauger, who was second in the intermediate final, received rave reviews from Mr Gellatly and judge Todd Wegner, who was amazed at how clean she shore.
“Girls are making their mark in the industry,” Mr Gellatly said.
“Watching Mauger is like poetry in motion. She is a legend. Who said girls don’t shear.”
Miling shearer Holly Kingin-Carrington was fourth in her first competition at the Perth Royal Show.
Overall, Mr Gellatly said the show produced some excellent shearing and woolhandling performances.
“The best outcome was a positive motion that the shearing competition would be back at the Perth Royal Show bigger and better next year,” he said.
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