Leith Bearman qualifies for NSW Sports Shear team in novice wool handling

Moree’s Leith Bearman will be heading to Perth in September after becoming one of the youngest people to ever make the NSW Sports Shear team.

Thirteen-year-old Leith ended up qualifying first for state in the novice wool handling competition at the 2018 Dubbo Show Sports Shear event, held in Dubbo on Saturday, May 12. 

“He placed third but because there were some Kiwis and backpackers, they couldn’t qualify, so he qualified first for state,” Leith’s dad Jordan Bearman said.

“They only take two wool handlers out of the novice.

“He was pretty stoked and shocked.”

The wool handling competition involves pulling the wool as the sheep is being shorn and throwing the fleece flat onto a table while preparing it as best you can.

This was only the third show Leith has competed in, after deciding give it a go while he was travelling to shows all over the state with his dad, who was competing in the Sports Shear NSW intermediate circuit.

“He’s only been out in the sheds just mucking around and doing a bit of work here and there. He decided to have a go at it because we were at the shows anyway,” Mr Bearman said.

”He’s just doing it to fill in time until he can learn to shear.”

Meanwhile, Mr Bearman himself just missed out on a spot on the state team, placing third in the intermediate circuit final at the Dubbo Show on Friday, May 11.

The Moree shearer had competed in the 2017/18 intermediate circuit at shows all over the state, and ended up finishing in the top six, with a shot at making the state team.

Having been a shearer for just short of nine years, this was the first full year Mr Bearman has been competing.

“I did a few shows last year but this is the first year I gave it a good crack,” he said.

“I just wanted to get better from last year’s effort.”

Mr Bearman was only half a point short of making the state team, and although disappointed, he plans to top it next year.

He’s already competed in the first round of the 2018/19 circuit which began in Dubbo the day after the 2017/18 final.

“They always start it and end it in Dubbo,” he said.

The Bearmans will now head to Perth for the National Shearing and Wool Handling Championships.

While there Mr Bearman will compete in the shearing competition at the Perth Royal Show.

“We’ll make a holiday of it,” he said.

Mr Bearman will also be competing in the Garah Quick Shear fundraiser this Saturday, May 19.