Top shearer’s fitness program keeps him competitive

Nathan Stratford checks out the new Hyundai Santa Fe that he will use, free-of-charge, for 12 months, as part of his prize for winning the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit Championship.

Kavinda Herath / Stuff

Nathan Stratford checks out the new Hyundai Santa Fe that he will use, free-of-charge, for 12 months, as part of his prize for winning the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit Championship.

  • Fitness training helps Southland shearer win national title
  • Picked up a new car to use free-of-charge for 12 months

Top Southland shearer Nathan Stratford is adamant gym training has made him more competitive.

This year he capped his 25th season on the Shearing Sports New Zealand Open-class circuit by winning the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit Championship.

A presentation ceremony to give him the main part of the prize – a free one-year lease on a Hyundai Santa Fe – was made at the GWD Motor Group building in Invercargill on Thursday.

“Like any sport, what you put in is what you get out,” Stratford said of his preparation for shearing competitions throughout the country.

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Following a day’s work in the shearing sheds Stratford would head off at night to do weight training and exercise on a rowing machine and cross trainer at World Health & Fitness in Invercargill. That was happening five nights a week.

It helped build the high level of fitness required for competitions, he said.

An understanding wife and family made it possible for Stratford to spend some of his spare time at the gym and traveling to competitions.

“At night you come home from work and then away to the gym … you might only see them [wife and kids] for 10 minutes before you go to the gym, ”Stratford said.

He wants to continue shearing competitively, outside the hours of working for his employer, Rabbidge Shearing, and remains available to help others in the industry with advice.

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in 45 of the 59 shearing events being canceled in New Zealand in the past season, with 14 going ahead under restrictions.

It was disappointing that competitions were canceled, but Stratford stayed positive, he said.

“You had to keep your mind in the game. You still had to keep going in the sheds doing the stuff you’re supposed to … keep going and thinking positive. ”

Shearing Sports NZ chairman Sir David Fagan said Stratford thoroughly deserved to win the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit Championship.

It was a sought-after mixed breeds title and the 50th year of the circuit, Fagan said.

“Nathan’s shown for a couple of decades that he’s capable of shearing all breeds and putting it altogether like he does.”

“The last five years with age and a bit more experience, he’s got better.”

As well as being consistent and his “dogged determination”, Stratford had always been a quality shearer, “Fagan said.

“As long as I remember it’s the quality that’s got him through.”

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