KI shearing legend Rodger Borgmeyer participates at Blades of Glencoe

Legendary Kangaroo Islander shearer Rodger Borgmeyer OAM on the weekend participated in what is believed to be a biggest group of blade shearers working together.

At age 78, he was the oldest shearer at Blades of Glencoe, a "shearathon" held on Sunday, March 10 in the State's South East region near Mount Gambier.

Blades of Glencoe featured 30 men and 30 women using old-school blades to shear 1000 cross-bred sheep, and it was expected that 4000 people would be turning up to the event, which featured shearing demonstrations, bands, bush poets and stalls.

Blades of Glencoe was not only an event to showcase some top quality shearing, but was also raising awareness and funds for beyondblue.

With high rates of suicide in the country, the shearers and others involved wanted to send the message that it's okay not to be okay.

There were some female shearers from overseas, coming from the United Kingdom, Germany, and New Zealand.

While Mr Borgmeyer was the oldest, there were also a couple of junior shearers under the age of 10, including Charlie Dunn, the 7-year-old shearer from the TV show Little Big Shots.

He said he came all the way from KI out to Glencoe because he believed the shearathon and improving mental health of farmers was a good and worthy cause.

Unfortunately, he said he had a friend pass away recently.

Mr Borgmeyer started blade shearing at age 15, shortly after moving to the Island, however he doesn't do it regularly anymore.

The last time that he was blade shearing before Blades of Glencoe, was shearing rams at a demonstration at Moorundie Park.

He was a professional shearer for the 37 years, and had been shearing all over Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland.

He has convened the shearing competition at the Parndana Show for almost 40 years.

He moved to Kangaroo Island with his parents Bill and Beatrice in 1955 who settled Atterak property, Karatta spelled backwards.

"I used to watch my grandfather, Bill Senior, blade shear and I would turn the grindstone while he sharpened the blades," he said. " Blade shearing is quite an art, actually."

While he enjoyed his life as a shearer, if he'd had his time again, he would have taken on an apprenticeship. He has however made some lifetime friendships in his line of work.

He is a life member of the KI Hunt Club, Racing Club and Parndana Show Society. He received an Medal of the Order of Australia in 2006 for services to the community and to shearing.

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