Glen Isla's Ken French is passionate about a rare agricultural sport that is experiencing a comeback - blade shearing.
Ken, 59, started blade shearing when he was a teenager.
His father had a sheep property and he was allowed to shear any dead sheep that were found and sell the wool for pocket money.
It wasn't until he was in his 30s that he started taking his hobby seriously and it became a business and a sport.
I had a neighbour who was an old time blade shearer and he would talk to me about it and give me tips. He really got me interested.
"The first dead sheep I shore was when I was about 14 years old and I got paid $30," he said.
"I had a neighbour who was an old time blade shearer and he would talk to me about it and give me tips.
"He really got me interested. He was past being able to show me how to do it but he gave me great advice.
"I also had a neighbour with a merino stud at Brimpaen and he asked me to blade shear his stud rams and then I would get more people asking - from there it become something I did for more than a hobby."
Ken said people want blade shearing done because you can get a better tip on the wool and shear all the sheep at the same time.
"It is only for show sheep and they have to be inspected and tagged on a particular date and the wool has to be under a certain length on that date," he said.
"Blade shearing leaves a little more on than the machine shears. There is a big time difference between machine and blade shearing. With a stud ram you can do about 30 to 40 a day.
"Machines just shear and go, where with blades you take your time, do it perfectly in and out of neck folds. In Australia only show sheep get blade shorn, 95 per cent merino ram and 5 per cent ewes."
Ken said New Zealand has commercial blade shearing crews and he has enjoyed getting to know some of them through competitions.
"With commercial blade shearers in New Zealand on the South Island, they leave a bit more on and they shear them in the snow so it leaves a bit more on and they don't get as cold. Commercial blade shearing teams are nearly extinct in Australian as far as teams go," he said.
"Those blokes can shear 300 sheep a day in New Zealand. They regularly do 150-160 but that's a commercial shear and not for show, so it isn't as accurate."
Ken said the New Zealanders are fierce competitors.
"When we go to the competitions, the international ones, we are competing against them. They are quicker, but we are cleaner, so we work on getting a bit quicker. New Zealand are the best in the world," he said.
"If I had my time again I would go over there to New Zealand as a young bloke and get them to teach me. I self-taught pretty much."
He said the main things blade shearers focus on is getting their shears set, getting them set and sharp.
"I now probably shear six or more studs in Western Victoria and one in South Australia, so I do about 400 sheep a year," Ken said.
Ken represented Australia in July in France at the World Championships.
"I have competed in the World Championships every three years. I also competed in other overseas competitions in 2014 in Ireland, went to New Zealand to compete in 2017 and I am headed back to New Zealand to compete again this year."
Despite the pressure of representing his country, Ken doesn't get nervous. "No, I don't get nervous. I just enjoy doing it and I enjoy showing people who are interested. I got into show shearing by accident really," he said.
"It is exciting when you are representing your country.
"It is a rare opportunity. My wife Theresa and I would never have been able to go overseas if I hadn't done this so it has been great for us. The people you meet are great. The Irishmen and Kiwis are just great. Have a great time with them all and they are really helpful and they want to share their knowledge and help us get more competitive."
Ken won the Australian title once and in the world championships he finished fifth. "The future of blade shearing is looking good. I have had a lot of young blokes, some locally, who are getting into it," he said.
"Daniel Rogers from Telangatuk East is one and he will go around me any day he is doing well and some young blokes out Jeparit are getting into it. I know a couple of young blokes in the Western District and a few in NSW taking it up and going well.
"The future is looking good, which is important because some of us are getting on a bit. "It isn't like machine shearing where they shear hundreds a day, it is more relaxing. Stud shearing is more like a quality haircut, not just a quick clip. That is the art of it in competition, having to do a really good and be quick."