29 Mar 2012

Te Kuiti shearing, wool handling champs open

7:05 am on 29 March 2012

The second big event on this year's shearing calender after the Golden Shears - the New Zealand shearing and wool handling championships - opens in Te Kuiti on Friday.

More than 200 competitors will be chasing titles over the next three days and thousands of visitors will flock to the King Country town for that and the annual running of the sheep down the main street on Saturday.

Doug Laing of Shearing Sports New Zealand says current national champion Rowland Smith will be among the favourites for the open shearing title.

"He's actually won nine different finals since late January this year ... she's going to be a very keenly-contested event," he said.

Other titles up for grabs include the North Island shearer of the year and the New Zealand shears circuit winner.