IAN Elkins knew he wanted to be a shearer when he watched his grandfather at work in the sheds as a kid.
Boorowa born and raised, he's shorn close to a million sheep in his half a century after taking up the game at 16.
Next month, he'll join the likes of shearing royalty Jackie Howe when he is inducted into the Australian Shearers' Hall of Fame.
"I'm very humbled to be put up alongside Jackie Howe," he said.
Mr Elkins inherited his love for shearing from his grandfather, working on a small Boorowa sheep property.
"I watched him shear in primary school," he said. “I just liked the way the wool would fly off the handpieces, just the constant movement. It's something that captivated me."
He has since worked across the country and represented Australia in New Zealand, Wales, France and America, where he took out an international shearing championship in 1994.
Mr Elkins has claimed four Australian championships in three states and has been named Shearer of the Year eight times.
"Years ago, I'd average about 150 a day, but age catches up to you," he laughed.
Not many would be privy to such changes in the shearing world as Mr Elkins, whose 35-year career saw the 1980s wide-comb dispute occupy the Arbitration Commission for four years.
Mr Elkins has shorn for Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and former Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
He believed Australian merinos to be the best in the world, noting famers had genetically modified better sheep and shearers were constantly mastering more effective techniques.
"I just like the different companies I come across every time," he said. "The landscape (is always) a bit different, the seasons that little bit different."
Mr Elkins moved to Canberra 15 years ago, where he still shears with his son Mick and teaches part-time at Dubbo TAFE and Australian Wool Innovation.
He will be joined by the late Mark Conlan, the late Maurice Doyle, Dick Duggan and Kevin Gellatly as the 2015 inductees into the Australian Shearers' Hall of Fame.
Their induction is part of Shear Outback's Festival of the Blades in Hay on April 4 and 5, which includes various demonstrations and workshops.
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