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Shearing giant farewelled

Eddy Reidy at the Golden Shears 50th anniversary in 2010. PHOTO/SSNZ

Small stature no barrier for champion Eddy Reidy


The shearing fraternity gathered at Ngatea last week to celebrate the life of 1960-70s shearing legend and former Golden Shears Open champion Eddy Reidy, who died on Wednesday.

Like so many others, Reidy shore to some extent in the shadow of six-times Golden Shears champion Snow Quinn, to whom he was runner-up in 1971, beaten by just 0.1375pts.

On his fourth attempt, Reidy won Masterton’s world-renowned glamour shearing final two years later, when he also won the first Golden Shears Invitation lambshear.

At the Golden Shears in Masterton in 1974 he won the second McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown final [now better known as the PGG Wrightson Wool National Circuit] and as a result represented New Zealand in the first transtasman series test match in Euroa, Victoria, Australia.

Based mainly around the Pokeno and Maramarua area, the diminutive Reidy shore for a marathon 37 minutes in that first test, won by Australia.

But in March 1975, he, Norm Blackwell and Don Morrison turned the tables for a celebrated test match win over eight merinos and eight Romney ewes in Masterton.

His battles with the merinos, which dwarfed him, have become a part of shearing competition folklore, but did nothing to daunt Reidy who ultimately shore five Golden Shears Open finals, finishing fourth in the last in 1977

That was won by new star Roger Cox who went on to win the first World Championships final later that year.

Reidy had also formed a big partnership with Alexandra-based Quinn, the pair winning the popular Golden Shears Maori-Pakeha teams title in 1967, 1968 and 1969.

In January 1979 he put together a gang of some of the country’s top shearers to shear a world 10-stand record of 5557 lambs in nine hours at Poronui Station, off State Highway 5 east of Taupo.

Reidy also organised woman shearing pioneer Jills Angus Burney’s world record lamb shear.

Burney said despite Reidy’s small stature he had been a giant in the shearing industry and had been involved in the development of many young shearers.

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