Judge picks up tips in France

By Country News

Picking up tricks of the trade and bringing them back to Australia is just part of the job Tocumwal’s Mark Baldwin had when he travelled to France to judge in the 2019 Golden Shears World Championships.

Mr Baldwin, who has been to the world championships in 2005 at Toowoomba and 2008 in Norway, judged on behalf of the Sports Shear Australia Association, specifically representing NSW.

‘‘It was absolutely fantastic,’’ he said.

‘‘I can’t say one’s so much better than another because each is country specific. I had a wonderful time.’’

Mr Baldwin said he was never too old to learn and was hoping to bring some of the knowledge back to judges here in Australia.

‘‘The judges you meet, you learn different things like interpretations,’’ he said.

‘‘They have different sheep to what we shear here.

‘‘Fifty breeders supplied Suffolks, Texel and Île-de-France sheep. In Australia, we get two to three breeders.

‘‘I believe part of my job is to help judges we have here with the finer points of judging that I learn from these events.’’

Mr Baldwin said funding was the biggest hurdle for Australia to host the championships again.

‘‘Going to these is also a great opportunity to gain experience on what you can learn to be organised and what makes them run well,’’ he said.

‘‘Australia’s biggest thing is getting funding — the 2019 event cost one million euros.’’

Mr Baldwin was Australia’s shearing judge and was part of a team that also included Rochester’s Paul McCormack and Cobram’s Jason Wingfield.

The team was one of 34 countries to compete in machine shearing, blade shearing and wool handling events across the week-long competition that finished on July 7.

Australia’s best performer was John Dalla, who finished fifth in the individual blades event and fourth in the teams event with Ken French.

The next Golden Shears World Championships will be held in Scotland in 2022.