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Things are looking good: participants say at BISCA AGM
Dec '13
The British Isles Shearing Competition Association (BISCA) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the British Wool Marketing Board’s (BWMB) headquarters in Bradford last month.

The top Area judges from UK shearing competitions, along with representatives from most of the major shearing and wool handling shows in the country attended, and the general consensus was that things are looking good.

The Lister’s Shearing Personality of the Year award is always one of the meeting’s highlights, this year going to the Welsh Open shearer Gareth Daniel.

Unanimous support for a proposal that BISCA officials now stay in post for four years instead of two meant that Chairman and Vice Chairman Arwyn Jones and Colin MacGregor respectively were re-elected.

Arwyn and Colin put aside old rivalries from their shearing days, when the Welshman and Scotsman competed head to head, and were full of mutual praise.  “I couldn’t stay in this job without Colin’s support,” Arwyn said.

In his Chairman’s Report, Arwyn proudly stated that UK shearing is “going from strength to strength,” with excellent numbers of entrants in competitions.

It was a credit to the quality of UK shearing too, that top New Zealand shearing instructor Dean Te Huia had been “proud to have UK shearers on his courses” and frequently rang to recruit staff for the New Zealand season.  Around 30 – 40 UK shearers fill positions annually in Dean’s hometown of Te Kuiti; Shearing Capital of the World.

“UK shearing is definitely going in the right direction,” Arwyn said, thanking and praising Colin as Shearing Training Manager at the BWMB for the good work that has been done and that is clearly paying dividends.  Colin responded modestly, saying that people had praised his leadership, but that “It’s easy to be a leader when you’ve got such a great team behind you”.

Several lengthy debates arose during the course of the AGM, and as in previous years, one of them concerning National Rules.  Area Judge Alan Derryman from Devon proposed bringing UK rules into line with New Zealand/World rules, arguing that there was very little difference between them in practice. 

Also, he said that any small differences that did exist would be to the benefit of shearing quality.  The general consensus was that people agreed and the motion was passed.  Dave Turner, who had had reservations, said that he was happy that it had gone through a democratic process and stimulated debate.

Also, after much discussion about a 50p competitor levy to help fund BISCA, it was decided instead to “keep things simple” and just increase each shearing competition’s annual affiliation fee from £50 to £75.

Since last year’s AGM there had been a disappointingly low amount of support for the motion of getting shearing officially recognised as a sport and forming Shear Sports UK.  This was, however, one of only a few setbacks in what was otherwise a very productive and positive shearers’ meeting.  The next AGM will be held in Bradford again in November next year.

British Wool Marketing Board

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