TWICE World Shearing Champion, Shannon Warnest, will head the Sports Shear Australia team which is set to take on 32 countries at the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Invercargill, New Zealand, this week.
Sophie Huf, Hawkesdale, Victoria, will represent Australia after claiming the 2016 National Woolhandling champion title at Warialda, NSW in October.
These Championships, which are held every three years across the North and Southern Hemispheres, will mark Tasmanian top wool handler Melanie Morris’ third world event.
Morris has been working alongside some of the world’s top woolhandlers in NZ since early January, which she said helped each other get to the top of their trade.
The machine shearing team includes seasoned campaigner Jason Wingfield, Cobram, Vic - who has represented Australia for over a decade – and team captain Warnest.
Wingfield and Warnest have competed in local, state, national and international titles for over 20 years and both have the physically and mentally ability to make the top six and shear-off for the world title.
Both have been training extensively at home and in New Zealand the past six months with the stamina to complete a day’s shearing compared to running a 40 kilometre marathon.
“There wouldn’t be many sports people around who have played 12 seasons in a row for Australia, or any other country, without missing a game,” NZ shearing commentator Doug Laing said.
Seven times National Blade Shearing Champion, John Dalla, Warooka, SA together with Ken French, Glen Isla, Vic, have been in training with the traditional blades, set to take on the national champions of Lesotho, South Africa, New Zealand and the Northern Hemisphere countries.
Legendary Queensland shearer, Jackie Howe, still holds the record for the highest daily tally of 321 blade shorn sheep in 1892.