Calgary, AB – 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Shearing Competition at the Calgary Stampede with more than $11,000 in prizes up for grabs in 2016. From July 8 – 9 in the Victoria Pavilion in the Agriculture Building, this competition attracts the top professional sheep shearers from around the world in the Open Championship. Reigning 2015 Open Professional Champion Mike Pora, from Cowra, New South Wales, Australia is returning to defend his CS buckle. He will also be conducting an advanced shearing school prior to the competition for Alberta shearers looking to learn from a master.
Pieter DeMooy, from Saanichton, B.C. is this country’s top contender, still seeking his first big win after competing for over ten years. Pieter has represented Canada twice on the World Shearing Championship stage. Shaun Fajnor, from Taber is the Southern Alberta favorite, and says last year’s Calgary Stampede was life-changing, opening up many opportunities, including the chance to travel to Australia to work and learn alongside Mike Pora.
- Shearers compete to shear quickly and cleanly in a series of head-to-head duels.
- It is a competition of skill and expertise, which is judged and timed.
- When the clock starts, the shearers bring their first animal out of the pen and pull the cord to start their electric shears.The clock stops when each shearer calls time after shearing all their sheep in the go-round.
- One penalty point is awarded for every 20 seconds it takes to shear the pen of sheep.The best barbers can usually shear four sheep in less than six minutes.
- Judges monitor each shearer on the board, handing off the counter as they rotate between competitors.They add penalty points for faults in workmanship, such as going over the same area twice to get the wool closer to the skin, called a second cut in the wool.
- After each animal is shorn, it is carefully reviewed by the pen judges.If tufts or ridges of wool have been left or if the shearer has unavoidably cut or nicked the sheep, additional penalty points are assessed and the animal is treated immediately.
- The shearer who earns the lowest time and penalty score is the winner of each heat.
- After four preliminary go-rounds, all scores are added together and the top four Open Professional shearers advance to the Semi-Finals.
- The top two shearers have the final duel of the day to determine the 2016 Calgary Stampede North American Sheep Shearing Champion.
See more at calgarystampede.com