CLICK: Quick shears comp organiser John Skinner speaks passionately about the industry.
CLICK: Quick shears comp organiser John Skinner speaks passionately about the industry. Matthew Purcell

Shear class on show for all

SHEARING is nowadays often thought of as a profession from a bygone era but for an ageing generation - and some youngsters - it remains a way of life.

Dozens found their way to the wool pavilion at the show on Saturday, eager to watch some professionals at work.

The quick shears competition pitted men against beast with speed and precision key.

Organiser John Skinner resurrected the competition a few years back after it fell over and said the hardest thing was attracting a new generation, due to the nature of the work.

"I was disappointed in the number of young shearers here,” Mr Skinner said.

"It's hard work and we're finding amongst the young fellas they don't really want to put in the hard yards.”

At age 70, Mr Skinner doesn't go chasing the work but if it comes to him he's happy to keep shearing.

"My doctor said to me the other day, 'I see 80-year-old men who won't stop working and 18-year-old men who won't start work.'

"But there is a shortage of shearers throughout the whole industry.”

While they only get roughly $3 a sheep shorn, any shearer worth his salt can do 150-plus a day, MrSkinner said.

"Contractors won't employ a full-time shearer now unless he can do that in a day,” he said.

"Most of the guys we had here (on Saturday) would do 200 a day.

"You do the maths and you can make anywhere up to $600 a day.”

Throw in some prizemoney that is on offer at shows like Stanthorpe and money can be made if you're willing to work for it.

Former Tenterfield boy and past Australian shearing champion Cameron Griffiths won Saturday's event.

Cowra's James Douglas and Danny Aspinall from Warwick were second and third respectively.

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