Nations battle it out at Show

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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The wool shed at the IGA Perth Royal Show was a real buzz, as the best shearers from three nations battled it out for top honours.

A record 150 shearers and woolhandlers were on hand to do their best. The two-day program included the first Tri-Nation shearing event, which pitted the Australians against teams from South Africa and New Zealand.

Royal Agricultural Society councillor Don Boyle and his team of volunteers were also out to raise the shearing bar at this year's Show.

From the word go, it was blow-by-blow action on Friday in the open shearing as 41 competitors across seven heats vied for a place in the final. There was no room for error as they shore the wool off five Merino ewes.

Finishing in a time of eight minutes and 39 seconds, Victorian shearer Jason Wingfield was hoping he would get clean ticks from the judges.

But as the points were awarded, it was Shannon Warnest, of South Australia, who had the lowest score. He went into the final in top spot.

WA shearer John Dalla, of Narrogin, scored low enough to secure a position in the final.

The open heats were so demanding that it unseated 15-time event champion Damien Boyle, of Broomehill.

While Boyle had to put the judges' scores into perspective, vowing to go better in the national wool heats, the other six finalists had one less quality shearer to worry about.

With the exciting open final on hold until the Saturday, the much anticipated Tri-Nations filled the boards with two shearers from each country.

The Australian team of Shannon Warnest, who led all the way, and Nathan Meaner, also of SA, were out to show the Kiwis and South Africans that they ruled the boards.

Warnest was first to stop the clock, followed by the NZ team. South Africa was a little off the pace.

Also building towards another close finish was the open blade final, with two South Africans finishing two minutes before John Dalla could stop the clock.

Three-times world champion Zweuiwile Hans finished in just over 11 minutes, with countryman Mayenzeba Shweni finishing in just under 12 minutes.

Dalla's chance at finishing ahead of the South Africans would rely on how clean he was with the blade.

Saturday included many finals but it was not until the national shearing heats that Damien Boyle stepped back into the spotlight.

The intermediate shear finals pre-empted what was to be one of the best days of shear-offs.

Belinda Box, of York, was in the driver's seat after shearing fast and clean in the intermediate heats.

In the under 21s, Beau Wagner, of Nungarin, was confident he made the grade.

Boyle was pumped up for the national final, as were the national teams shearers, not to mention the open and national woolhandling final competitors.

And as the Show's closing Skyworks echoed through the wool shed, the shearing elite were called up to walk the boards one more time and receive their respective awards.

Meanwhile, all 1450 of the freshly shorn Merino sheep were being loaded for the trip back to Lindsay Hagboom's Dowerin paddocks.

Sheep Shearing and Woolhandling *

Sheep shearing and woolhandling incorporating Sports Shear Australia Association's (SSAA) Australian National Shearing Championships

Tri-Nations, First: _Australia _; Second: _New Zealand _; Third: _South Africa _

SSAA National Teams, First: _South Australia _; Second: _WA _;

Third: _New South Wales _

Challenge (WA versus New Zealand), First: _NZ _; Second: _WA _

Open Shearing, First: _Shannon Warnest (SA) _; Second: _Daniel McIntyre (NSW) _; Third: _Nathan Meaney (SA) _

SSAA Trans Tasman Woolhandling, First: _NZ _; Second: _Australia _

SSAA Trans Tasman Shearing, first: _Australia _; Second: _NZ _

National Blades, First: _John Dalla (WA) _; Second: _Peter Artridge _

Open Blades, First: _Mayenzeba Shweni (South Africa) _; Second: _John Dalla (WA) _; Third: _Zweuiwile Hans (South Africa) _

National Woolhandling, First: _Rachel Hutchison (NSW) _;

Second: _Aroha Garvin (WA) _

National Shearing, First: _Shannon Warnest (SA) _; Second: _Nathan Meaney (SA) _; Third: _Damien Boyle (WA) _

Intermediate Shearing: _Belinda Box _

Under 21s Shearing: _Beau Wagner _

Senior Shearing: _Shaun Wilson _

Intermediate Woolhandling, First: _Dayne West _; Second: _Leanne Jones _

Open Woolhandling, First: _Joel Henrae (NZ) _; Second: _Jackie Harmer _

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