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Shearing has sporting chance of recognition, according to annual shearers’ meeting


‘Spare sheep’, setting records and ‘Shearing Sports’ were just some of the fascinating topics debated in a fun and friendly manner at this year’s British Isles Shearing Competition Association (BISCA) AGM, held in Bradford on 11th November.

Representatives from all the major shearing competitions in the UK met at the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) headquarters to discuss everything from national rules to the possibility of a BISCA sponsored European Shearing Circuit.

Nicky Beynon, Shearers’ Rep for Wales, reported that in the interest of fairness, Chief Stewards at shows needed to be clearer about whether spare sheep were available to replace any considered sub-standard by competitors. Also, any rejected sheep should be clearly marked, he said, to prevent them from ‘re-appearing’ later in the competition.

Mr. Beynon also asked whether the Irish and British Isles lamb shearing record of 521 lambs, set this summer by Roy Collier from County Wexford, was going to be officially recognised by Guinness World Records.

“After a day’s work like that, the very least the guy deserves is that kind of official recognition,” he said.

Getting official recognition for competitive shearing as a sport in the UK was proposed by Colin MacGregor, Shearing Manager at the BWMB and newly elected Vice-Chairman of BISCA. In New Zealand, the governing body Shearing Sports NZ has achieved recognition of shearing as an official sport, and Colin believes we could do the same here.

“I have read and digested the criteria and I believe we meet it all,” he said. “It won’t happen overnight, but we should explore it further. If we are officially recognised as a sport, it will do the whole industry good.”

One of the UK shearing industry’s most prestigious awards Lister’s Shearing Personality of the Year was presented to Richard Schofield, a popular shearing instructor from Skipton in North Yorkshire.

The number of talented young shearers coming into the industry, thanks to the efforts of BWMB instructors such as Richard, was commented on by Dave Turner, BISCA’s Competition Secretary.

Brendan Kelly was replaced as Chairman of BISCA by Arwyn Jones from Denbighshire in North Wales. Arwyn, an extremely busy man in the shearing world, is also currently Chairman of both the Cneifio Corwen Shears and the Shearing Committee at the Royal Welsh Show.

Other items discussed in the meeting included making more efficient use of Newsclip (BISCA’s annual publication), the [possible] over-preparation of some show sheep by crutchers, an altercation between two judges in Ireland in the summer and the possibility of a BISCA Facebook page.

Strong opposition to joining Facebook was expressed by some present, due to the potential abuse of the site with gossip and inappropriate photographs, as so often happens on social media sites. However, Publications Secretary and outgoing Chairman, Brendan Kelly, proposed going ahead, but keeping the site strictly for results only.

It wasn’t possible to set the date for next year’s AGM yet. Dave Turner, to much laughter, proposed announcing it on Facebook.


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