Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Day 10 – Wales Coast – Royal Welsh Show – Wales vs New Zealand Test

Nope, not a rugby test. It’s a sheep shearing test. Ever year, several countries’ best sheep shearers gather at The Royal Welsh Show to see which nation is best.

I know this topic is a bit off the subject of my coastal trip of Britain, but while driving to Abersoch, I was listening to BBC Wales in the car, and heard the latest from the Royal Welsh Show. One comment from the Welsh presenter stuck in my head: “The New Zealanders are World Champions, and looking very strong, agile and skilful this year." Just to be clear, he was talking about the New Zealand sheep shearing team.

Apparently, shearers are scored by points being deducted. So competitors start with maximum points, and for every mistake/misjudgement made, points will be deducted. For instance, shearers should never have to cut twice over the same area – apparently, that’s not very skilful. The winner is the shearer who has the least points deducted. The presenter interviewed one of the New Zealanders, and his best time for shearing a sheep was exactly 18.08 seconds.

Random fact of the day: There are 10 million sheep in Wales, compared to a human population of three million. That's a lot of lamb chops to get through...

A YouTube clip of the final of the All Nations Competition from 2008. To the uninitiated, it looks like the poor sheep is being roughed up quite a bit, but on the BBC Radio Wales program, the New Zealander competitor says they actually enjoy the rough stuff.

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