Family day full of fun at Connacht shearing competition
A family day out is the theme of this year's Connacht Sheep Shearing Championships, which take place next weekend at Ballinrobe Racecourse.
A range of activities, including fashion shows, sheep dog trials, food tasting, tug of war, dog show, a high nelly bike race and numerous other trade stands, will be going on parallel to the main shearing event, which also doubles as a dress rehearsal for the All-Ireland and International Shearing Championships two weeks later.
Shearing world record holder Ivan Scott, from Donegal, will lock horns with New Zealander Doug Smyth in the much anticipated Open Competition.
Smyth, who recently set a world record when he and his brother shore 1,066 sheep in an eight-hour working day in New Zealand, said he was looking forward to the encounter and to his first trip to Ireland.
However, the pair will not have it all their own way as local hero and 11-time All-Ireland champion Tom Kennedy, along with George Graham, PJ Browne, Andrew Corrigan and John Quigley, will ensure that whoever wins will have earned it.
There will also be great interest in the hand shearing competition to see how local hand shearer Peter Hearty, from Westport, will feature against his fellow Irish team shearer and current All-Ireland champion Sean O'Sullivan from Kerry.