Combs are flying in New Zealand and across the Tasman as the shearing competition season enters full swing.
Across the Ditch, Winton shearer Troy Pyper teamed up with Hawke's Bay shearers Rowland Smith and Johnny Kirkpatrick in the machine-shearing event at the Australian National Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Bendigo at the weekend.
The trio joined the World Championship winning combination woolhandlers Joel Henare and Maryanne Baty and World Championship blade shearing team runners-up Tony Dobbs and Phil Oldfield, of Canterbury, to round out the New Zealand team.
While both the woolhandlers and blade shearers claimed victory, it was not the fairytale ending for the group of machine shearers, who have not won on Australian soil since 2010.
However for Pyper, in only his third transtasman test, the experience was worth it as he looks to the Golden Shears next year.
Pyper secured 20 points from the compulsory fine-wool opening round of the PGG Wrightson Wool national shearing circuit in Alexandra last month, when he placed second to Australian shearer Damien Boyle.
He then followed it up with a second placing at the 50th Waimate Spring Shears.
Pyper plans to compete in the remaining qualifying rounds at the Canterbury A&P Show's New Zealand Corriedale Championships on November 17; on lambs in Marton on February 3; and on second-shear sheep at the Pahiatua Shears on February 25.
''It is an experience thing,'' he said.
''No matter how many years you've been shearing, you still can't just walk in and think you're going to take it away.''
While some of the country's best were competing off-shore at the weekend, others were competing at the Ashburton A&P Show.
Southland shearer Nathan Stratford won the open competition, and Brett Roberts, of Mataura, was second.
Southern Rural Life