6 Nov
6 November 2023

All in the family at Manawatū show shears

Masterton brother and sister Joseph Gordon and Cushla Abraham won the open shearing and woolhandling finals, respectively, at the Manawatū and West Coast A&P Show in Feilding.

But there was even more for the 24-year-old Gordon at the show at Manfeild on Saturday, as he, in his first season in open class, his fourth open competition and his first open final, also formed a quinella with older brother David.

Just 0.3 points separated the pair after a four-man final of 20 short-wool hoggets, with third place going to Eketāhuna shearer Hemi Braddick, who had the fastest time.

Fourth place went to Murray Henderson, an organiser of the competition and a former Golden Shears open finalist now extending his place in the wool industry as a flooring specialist.

Both Abraham and Gordon are New Zealand representatives, but their performances and the resurrection of the Manawatū competition after an absence of three years, were a sign of a changing of the guard.

Of the 11 entries in the open shearing, only three had previously won open titles, with only five wins between them and there had been a similar success rate among the 14 in the open woolhandling.

Gordon last year reached 10 senior finals and won two, despite the domination of the grade by second brother Adam, who was No 1-ranked senior nationwide in a season where both shore in the Golden Shears senior final.

Scraping into the final, with just 0.1 points between being in or out, and with wife Shyla and children Kawariki and Kaihatu in the audience, Gordon said he just wanted to shear as well as he could.

When he finished he was satisfied he’d achieved that goal, with the quality being more than enough to overcome any time-points deficit, with Braddick having finished almost a minute quicker.

Current form ruled in other shearing grades, with Taumarunui shearer Forde Alexander adding the senior title to a victory at the Hawke’s Bay Show’s Great Raihania Shears, Gisborne farmer Dylan Young making it three following Gisborne and Hastings wins, and Kaivah Cooper, of Napier, continued an unbeaten run in junior shows after victories at Gisborne, Hastings and the Wairarapa show in successive weeks.

The novice shearing final was won by Tatijana Keefe, who was also runner-up in the senior woolhandling final to Napier’s Te Whetu Brown.

Saturday’s junior woolhandling final was won by Napier youngster Waiari Puna, and the novice final was won by Georgia Rata, of Taumarunui.

Top shearers who were missing from the event weren’t all taking the weekend off, with at least five North Island shearers being in West Australia competing in the Mundijong Quick Shear, in the outer suburbs of Perth, and where Jack Fagan of Te Kuiti won the first prize of $16,000.

There were 74 entries across all grades, with 40 in the five shearing classes and 34 in the four woolhandling classes.

Keefe had already won a senior woolhandling title this season, at Hastings.