The Wanganui sportsperson of the year is woolhandler, Sheree Alabaster.
The award on Saturday night suprised many, not least the 34-year-old school principal from Taihape who triumphed over popular contenders such as Heartland rugby championships 2008 player of the year and Wanganui wing Cameron Crowley and Olympic Games cyclist Catherine Cheatley. . .
She said it was exciting for wool-handling competitions to be recognised as sport by the sporting fraternity, after the pioneering efforts of such people as the late Godfrey Bowen, who almost 20 years ago was named a foundation inductee of the national Sports Hall of Fame.
Falling sheep numbers have reduced the number of shearers and woolhandlers but not the quality of their performance and it’s good to have their skills acknowledged like this.