Twenty seven year old Rowland Smith from Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand is the new World Champion Machine Sheep Shearer. Earlier this evening in Gorey, he fought off stiff competition from Scotland’s Gavin Mutch and Hamish Mitchell, who came second and third respectively. Gavin was the defending champion.

By common consent this week’s championships in Gorey have helped raise the profile of sheep shearing to a world-wide audience, given that 27 countries and 102 individual shearers took part.

Rowland was born on to a sheep farm, with the family enterprise extending to 1,500 breeding ewes. Twice a winner of the Golden Shears’ event in New Zealand, this was his first time competing in the world championships.

“I have been shearing since coming out of nappies,” Rowland told Agriland.

“And today’s victory is as much for my family back home as it is for me as an individual.”

Last year Rowland sheared 60,000 sheep in New Zealand.

He added:

“Gorey has been a tremendous experience. The sheep we were shearing were different in breed type to those I am used to in New Zealand.  But it was an even playing field for everyone taking part.”

But Rowland will not have much time to rest on his laurels. His wife Ingrid is expecting their first baby in four weeks.

“Because of this Ingrid was not able to travel with me to Ireland. My brother is getting married in England next week. After that I will be heading home directly.”

Scotland had a tremendous final evening at the world shearing championships. In addition to the second and third places secured by Gavin Mutch and Hamish Mitchell in the individual championship, both combined to secure the World Team Championships for their native country.

The next World Shearing Championships will  take place in Christchurch New Zealand in January 2017.