Tomorrow will see the 20th anniversary Dyson Jones Corrigin Shears shearing competition held in conjunction with the annual Corrigin agricultural society show.
Involved with Corrigin Shears since its inception and now the event's co-ordinator, Graeme Downing said the special occasion would be celebrated with a reunion tomorrow night for people involved in running and competing in the event over its 20 years.
Naming sponsor from day one and WA wool industry identity Ken Dyson, who with brother Terry founded Dyson Wools in 1979, will be a special guest at the reunion, Mr Downing said.
Mr Dyson's successor Peter Howie, State manager of Dyson Jones Wool Marketing Services who continued the naming rights sponsorship, will also be attending.
Mr Downing recalled how he had just been elected president of the local agricultural society in November 1999 and was looking for ways to boost show attendances when committee member Lyn Ling suggested holding a shearing competition.
"Lyn and her husband Geoff, along with friends and fellow shearer Donald McMiles and his wife Janet, had attended the Koorda Show and thought we could breathe some new life into our flagging show by running a shearing competition," Mr Downing recalled.
"(Fellow show committee member) Rodney Coake and I recall that we almost sniggered at the idea of running an event for which we had no infrastructure and no knowledge of how to conduct the event," he said.
But Ms Ling organised community events which raised $10,000, enough to get the Corrigin Shears project started.
The Corrigin Ram Breeders Association was convinced to give up space in its ram pavilion at the recreation centre for a temporary four-stand shearing board that would be removed immediately after the competition.
Mr Downing said the shearing board was prefabricated in a local farm shed by farmers and other farmers loaned the machinery to run it.
Advice was sought from West Australian Competition Shearing Association (WACSA) president Don Boyle and he ran workshops to train judges for the shears.
Ken Dyson was approached to sponsor the event and Corrigin farmers Ernie and Rhonda Lohoar provided the sheep and continued to provide sheep for Corrigin Shears for the next 10 years.
Mr Downing said in 2001 Mr Boyle suggested Corrigin apply to host the 2002 National Fine Wool Merino Championships and the application was successful, requiring a fifth stand to be added to the shearing board.
Over the years many of the locals involved in setting up and running the early Corrigin Shears events, such as Marion and Kevin Uren who were awarded Life Membership of WACSA in 2010, went on to hold national positions administering and judging competition shearing, Mr Downing said.
"This commitment (to Corrigin Shears and competition shearing) by Corrigin residents went on for many years, in fact no other town in WA contributed anywhere near what Corrigin did," he said.
"We all judged and competed at every show from Perenjori in the north to Albany in the south for many years."
The first Corrigin Shears attracted 32 shearers in four shearing grades, made a small profit and helped resurrect the Corrigin Show.
Last year there was a record 72 entries, including 22 novices, in five shearing and three wool handling divisions.
Registrations for this year's shears open at 7.30am Saturday in the ram pavilion, with heats in the novice shearing and wool handling starting at 8.30am.
Australian Wool Innovation pays competition fees for novice shearers and wool handlers to encourage them to enter.
Nominations for the novice events close at 8am.
Intermediate and Under 21 shearing and Open and Senior wool handling division nominations close at 8.15am and Open and Senior shearing division nominations close at 8.30am.
Money prizes are offered to fifth place in the shearing competition and fourth place in wool handling.
First prize in the Open shearing division is $420.