Friday, February 1, 2013

Going Pro:)

If I had to describe last weekend in one word, it would have to be pivotal. As many of you know I competed at the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City South Dakota on Sunday. This was a very important competition for me as it is the American machine shearing national championship. This competition (which used to be held in Denver) draws a huge entry pool and is always very competitive. This year there were over 50 shearers competing in 3 divisions. I was able to compete in the Intermediate division. The divisions are usually decided based on experience and previous contest results. I could have gone into the professional division but having never won this contest I was given one last go at this level. Thankfully I was able to capitalize on the opportunity and finally am able to say that I won the intermediate level at the national contest. The last time I was there I made it into the final only to place fourth which was a good placing but I have coveted winning this competition for many years and really wanted one last try. The consequence of my winning this division is that I now have officially "gone pro". This means that I am now forced to compete with "the boys" from here on out. While I think I have them running a bit scared, I have seen Alex slam out a sheep before I even get to the undermine (the blow right under the tail, right before you step up to shear the neck. Basically I'm not even halfway) and they look pretty good. I have watched Mark and Nolan cruise through a day of shearing and never break a sweat. These guys continually put sheep around me and I can't figure out what happened. I can usually keep pace with Kevin but he is better at making them look good. I'm still working on making nice even blows when I'm moving fast. Thinking about this helps pass the time when working long days in the sheds. Like this last week which has been bone chilling cold. We are back in Iowa temporarily till we head south again. Shearing a lot of ewes. It's all good practice and its money in the bank, but I can't help but feel like I have turned a corner in my shearing career. I'm excited about this upcoming year. Im shearing with some of the top guys in America and its time to really step up. I'm happy with how I shear. I know I can shear clean. I have been getting faster. It's just a matter of putting the two together so I can bring my "A" game to the next competition. I'm gonna be ready:)