Lynette Frick from the United States was the only female shearer at Saturday’s sheep shearing competitions in Delegate.
Ms Frick who has been shearing sheep “on and off” for about six years hails from Bakersfield, California.
The 26-year-old was brought up on a fruit and vegetable-producing farm, but said she enjoyed sheep.
“I like sheep so I bought four ewes and ram,” Ms Frick said.
“Of course I couldn’t get a shearer that would come in and shear just a few sheep, so I decided I would clip them myself with cattle clippers.
“As my herd grew, it was taking four days or so to shear 60 sheep, and I was clipping them like a cow.
“I did an internship on a sheep dairy and thought it was time I should go and learn how to shear a sheep properly,” she said.
So Ms Frick enrolled in a week-long sheep shearing course in Washington state.
“That got me started and then I was lucky enough to find a contractor that had an extra stand and I got a job,” she said.
When the Bombala Times asked Ms Frick about the strength required to handle and shear sheep she said it was all about technique and where the sheep’s feet were placed.
“Handling rams is a bit more tricky,” she said.
“Rams take strength to shear because they’re not real bendy with their thick necks, but there are techniques to get around that.
“You definitely have to be strong to drag them out though,” Ms Frisk said.
These days Ms Frick can shear anywhere from 100 to 160 merino sheep a day. A top grade male shearer can usually shear around 180.
Ms Frick arrived in Australia in August last year and has spent time on and off in Australia with trips to New Zealand to shear – and of course has been home to visit.
On Saturday, Ms Frick came sixth in the intermediate section of the sheep shearing competitions at Delegate Showground.
Shearers in Australia work a five-day week, eight hours per day in four runs.
“As you start to get better you learn how to balance the sheep correctly and it becomes much easier,” Ms Frick said.
Best shearers on Saturday were Mick Brownlie winning the Australia Day Local Quality Shear and Peter Kimber Memorial Clean Shear trophies.
Logan Brownlie was the best learner and Clinton Stuart was the best intermediate shearer. Warren McCole was first in the seniors and Luke Kimber won the open final.