The Protea team from South Africa recently participated in the Golden Shears 2023 World Sheep Shearing Championships – the ‘Olympics’ of shearing and wool handling. This year, the championships were held at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland.
The South African team consisted of blade shearers Zwelamakhosi Mbuweni and Bonile Rabela, machine shearers Dumisani Xhasa and Hans van Schalkwyk, and wool handlers Almarie Muller van Schalkwyk and Marie Mullee.
The team arrived in Scotland a week early to practice shearing the Scottish Black Face, Mules, and Cheviots, three meat type breeds, known for putting up a bit of a fight when being sheared. This practice helped the team develop the necessary skills to handle these breeds effectively during the competition.
The competition itself featured 53 hand shearers, 56 machine shearers, and 56 wool handlers from 29 different countries, making it a truly international event.
In the hand shearing category, both Bonile and Zwelamakhosi put on an exciting final in both the individual and team events. In the team category, each team member sheared five sheep, while in the individual category, each shearer had to shear six sheep. Bonile secured first place, while Zwelamakhosi came in second. They proudly represented South Africa and collected their individual shearing prizes, as well as the prize for the best hand shearing team. It was a moment of great pride to see them on stage wearing the Protea emblem over their hearts and Zinpro vellies, sponsored by Chemuniqué, on their feet.
South Africa was not only represented in the competing team but also among the judges at the World Shearing Championships. Christo Geldenhuys judged in the hand shearing finals, and Karen Lee judged the wool handling finals, highlighting the expertise and experience of South African professionals in the field.
Congratulations to the Protea team on their achievements at the 2023 World Sheep Shearing Championships!