11th June 2020 - Page 45



BALMORAL SHOW
FARMWEEK
MAY 09 2019
45
From Balmoral to taking
on the best in the world
J
ACK Robinson, aged 28 from
Londonderry, has seen his passion
for shearing sheep take him around
the world.
Jack started shearing aged 17,
working alongside his father Robert on the
family farm, managing 1,000 sheep. His first
competition was at Balmoral Show, still only
17, where he won the junior section.
Jack says: “I was absolutely delighted
to win and from that point I was hooked.
I entered as many competitions as I could
and managed to win at Ballymena and other
shows across Northern Ireland.”
The win at Balmoral Show qualified Jack
for the Worshipful Company of Woolmen
Competition in Wales as a Junior Member
for the Northern Ireland team.
“The top two individuals from each
country qualified to go to the Worshipful
Company of Woolmen Competition in Wales.
I absolutely loved it and managed to win my
section,” says Jack.
“It was life changing in many ways – it
opened my eyes to a whole new world and
introduced me to many inspiring people
from the industry. In particular, I met worldrenowned Kiwi shearer Matt Smith, who
suggested I visit New Zealand, which was a
major turning point in my career.
“I arrived in New Zealand in 2010, and
during my five seasons there spent time with
some fantastic shearers, which encouraged
me to improve and compete. The intensity
of the work saw my speed and skill improve
significantly, with my biggest tally totaling
530.”
Jack’s first Golden Shears competition
was the Intermediate section, where he
was placed 7th. The following year, Jack
qualified for the Seniors, winning eight
shows and achieving second in the Golden
Shears. These are some of his proudest and
greatest moments.
Jack has also represented Northern
Ireland in the World Championships twice,
IN ACTION: Jack Robinson at Balmoral
Show in 2017.
at Invercargill and Gorey in the Republic of
Ireland. As well as qualifying for this year’s
World Championships in France, other
highlights include winning at the Balmoral
Show four times in a row, winning the Open
All Nations in 2018, coming 6th in the 2017
World Championships and achieving 4th
in the team competition at the same event
with team mate Ian Montgomery,.
Jack has also sheared in Estonia, Latvia,
and Finland: “I have travelled and met
wonderful people – and I wouldn’t have done
any of that without the skill of shearing.”
Now married to Aime and with two
children – Kassi, seven, and Archie, three
– Jack wants to focus on his own shearing
business, where he currently shears around
20,000 sheep every year: “I started off with a
one-day Ulster Wool course and have never
looked back. Competition is still a major
part of my life and I now want to encourage
and support the next generation. Last year,
I hosted an advanced shearing course on
the farm – we had 25 young shearers who
I have travelled and met wonderful people – and I
wouldn’t have done any of that without the skill of
shearing.
Jack Robinson
There’s a ton of good reasons to
visit Hannon Steel at Balmoral
T
EMPLEPATRICK
based steel
stockholder Hannon
Steel will be making
its debut at this year’s
Balmoral Show and is
marking the occasion
by giving away a metric
tonne of steel from its
stand.
Hannon Steel, which
is open to the public
and operates out of the
Karl Business Park off
Junction 5 of the M2
motorway, has made
steady inroads into the
local steel stockholding
market since its arrival on
the scene just over three
years ago.
“We saw an opportunity
to hit that sweet-spot
between the major steel
stockholders and the
large DIY stores or
builders’ merchants,”
explained Adrian
Hannon, the firm’s
managing director.
“We have been quite
successful in getting a
foothold in supplying
small and medium-sized
businesses and now
we are focussing on
increasing awareness
among individual enduser customers.
“Farmers will often
need quality steel at short
notice and in smaller
quantities to carry out
a range of jobs in and
around the farm and what
we do is ideally suited to
meeting that need.
“So, in many ways, it
was natural for us to come
to the Balmoral Show and
to try to make a splash
– giving away a tonne of
steel from our stand just
seemed like a good way to
get talking to people and
to let them know what we
can offer.”
The Hannon Steel team
stand is D5A, facing the
Spar Arena.
demonstrated such promise and enthusiasm
for the skill of shearing.
“Ulster Wool really is supporting the
industry and standards are rising all the
time. But if I could offer any advice, it would
be to understand the importance of quality
when shearing sheep – it must be clean and
efficient. In all honesty, you can’t do this
without attending courses and watching the
best in the business.
“I’ve had some amazing mentors. Matt
Smith taught me to ‘harden up and keep
going’. This is a physically demanding job
and not for the faint-hearted! Rowland
Smith has also been instrumental, and, in
my opinion, is the best competitive shearer
in the world. Although we are now good
friends, I still look up to him to help me
continue to improve – he really is something
special to watch.
“Regardless of how good you are, always
look, listen and learn, and grasp every
opportunity to improve.
“Take any advice offered from anyone in
the Open shearing community – and don’t
be afraid to ask.”
Jack’s immediate challenge is to beat his
own record at the World Championships
this summer: “It would be fantastic to be
placed higher than 6th– I’ll put everything
into it, so let’s wait and see.”

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