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Crown for best handler

FINE WORK: Mel Morris of Cressy, Tasmania is the national wool handling champion. She was part of the Tasmanian team competing for Australian champion.
FINE WORK: Mel Morris of Cressy, Tasmania is the national wool handling champion. She was part of the Tasmanian team competing for Australian champion. Matthew Thompson

AFTER years of working in shearing sheds, a Tasmanian woolhandler has been rewarded with the national champion crown.

More than 2000 sheep passed across the boards during this year's national shearing and woolhandling championships, held as part of the Bendigo Agricultural Show.

Mel Morris, from Cressy, proved she was a cut above her competition in the woolhandling.

She was a member of the Tasmanian team, which won the national teams title.

The other team members were shearers Steve Rigby, Robbie Glover and Michelle Walker, another woolhandler.

After the teams competition Ms Morris went on to win the national woolhandling title.

Last weekend she and some of her title-winning team members showed their skills at the Melton Mowbray Rodeo, where she won the open woolhandler competition.

Sports Shear Australia president Jim Murray said the woolhandling was brilliantly dominated by Ms Morris.

"I am pretty stoked about winning the national title. I've been chasing it for a while. I am more relieved than anything,” Ms Morris said.

The 37-year-old has been competing since 2005 but she started woolhandling in 1997.

Ms Morris is also a wool classer and woolhandling trainer.

"It's a great job, I love it,” she said.

"There are many more women being woolhandlers compared to when I started.”

"The number of women outweighs male woolhandlers. It's changed dramatically in the last 20 years.”

Ms Morris works for shearer and shearing contractor Steve Rigby, who said she did an exceptional job at the national titles.

"She has worked really hard. And for our national team event all four of the team members performed really well,” Mr Rigby said.

Sheep and cropping farmer Daniel Fish, of Woorak at Epping Forest, was the team manager at the national event.

Mr Fish said the Tasmanian team was professional in its approach.

"To win the national title was a great team effort against some very talented shearers and handlers,” Mr Fish said.

"The team took great pride in competing for Tasmania.”

The first event in the new year for the team will be the Golden Shears in New Zealand in March.

Topics:  shearing industry wool


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