Shearers and handlers thrill in finals outings

Cally DupeCountryman
Lee Gray, of Darkan, competes in the Wagin Woolorama 2020 wool handling open final.
Camera IconLee Gray, of Darkan, competes in the Wagin Woolorama 2020 wool handling open final. Credit: Astrid Volzke/Countryman

A Boyup Brook shearer and Darkan wool handler have taken out the top categories in this year’s Wagin Woolorama Clean Shear and Woolhandling competitions.

Gun shearer Luke Harding sheared 10 sheep in 14 minutes and 28 seconds and won a hard-hitting contest against Richard Sturis and Callum O’Brien to take out the Clean Shear title.

Mr Harding, who runs a shearing contractor business at Boyup Brook, is well known on the WA Competition Shearing association circuit.

It was the second year in a row he has won the open class, after first entering the section three years ago. He climbed from fifth in the semifinal to take the open title in a strong finish.

Sharnie Keefe, of Darkan, competes in the woolhandling open final at the 2020 Wagin Woolorama.
Camera IconSharnie Keefe, of Darkan, competes in the woolhandling open final at the 2020 Wagin Woolorama. Credit: Astrid Volzke/Countryman

In the wool handling, Darkan wool handler Lee Gray won the open title after beating Sharnie Keefe and Renee Barrit.

Shearers and wool handlers from across WA brought their best to Woolorama this year, where they competed in five shearing and three wool handling classes.

There were 21 entries in Friday’s wool handling event and 66 entries in the Clean Shears competition on Saturday.

Wool handling categories included novice, intermediate and open, while the Clean Shear categories included novice, under-21, intermediate, senior and open.

In the Clean Shears Luke Blechynden took out the senior, while Robert Stewart won the intermediate, Tristan White won the under-21 and Jacob Day won the novice class.

In the wool handling, Robyn Barritt won the intermediate and Britany Simmons won the novice class.

The wool handling competition began at 8am on Friday, before the finals started about noon.

It was a similar set-up on Saturday.

The top three shearers and wool handlers from each open category have now qualified for the WA team for the National Shearing and Wool Handling Championships in October.

Sharnie Keefe, of Darkan, competes in the woolhandling open final at the 2020 Wagin Woolorama.
Camera IconSharnie Keefe, of Darkan, competes in the woolhandling open final at the 2020 Wagin Woolorama. Credit: Astrid Volzke/Countryman

More than 450 sheep were used during the two days of competition, with the flock supplied by Arthur River farmer Jeremy Abbott.

Wagin Woolorama Clean Shear and wool handling steward Huia Barlow said entries were up this year.

“It was a really good couple of days, there were about 10 more entries compared to last year and everything ran on time,” he said.

“The standard was quite high, it was one of the highest standards of shearing I have seen in the competition.

“The farmer whose sheep we used was really happy with everything.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails