X-Factor as Reece fleeced for worthy cause
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X-Factor as Reece fleeced for worthy cause

When a small mob of sheep at Gold Creek Station saw two men clad in flannel checked shirts approaching, they probably thought it was just business as usual.

Little did they know it was actually British-Australian pop artist Reece Mastin and guitarist Marcus Catanzaro who were closing in, stopping through on their five-day Live and Lost tour to complete a shearing challenge.

Reece Mastin, winner of the 2011 series of <i>X-Factor</i> Australia, tries his hand at sheep farming at Gold Creek Station in Hall, Canberra. Here he gets some tips from Yass shearer, Dave Hants and watched by Reece's guitarist, Marcus Catanzaro, left and sheep farmer, Craig Starr, right and of course the sheepdog.

Reece Mastin, winner of the 2011 series of X-Factor Australia, tries his hand at sheep farming at Gold Creek Station in Hall, Canberra. Here he gets some tips from Yass shearer, Dave Hants and watched by Reece's guitarist, Marcus Catanzaro, left and sheep farmer, Craig Starr, right and of course the sheepdog.Credit:Graham Tidy

''This is exhausting,'' 17-year-old Mastin puffed, as he crouched over a sheep he had tackled, ''but we have the same kind of earrings''.

Day three of the tour from Melbourne to Sydney had Mastin travelling from Wagga Wagga, through Yass, and finally to Canberra, stopping to meet fans along the way.

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Reece Mastin, winner of the 2011 series of <i>X-Factor Australia<i/>,  at Gold Creek Station in Hall, Canberra.

Reece Mastin, winner of the 2011 series of X-Factor Australia, at Gold Creek Station in Hall, Canberra.Credit:Graham Tidy

Mastin is limited to spending $50 over the five-day tour, relying on car rides, food and accommodation from his fans to survive, who he is connecting with via Facebook and Twitter along the way.

Sarah Parker, 18, watched keenly as Mastin was instructed by experienced shearer Dave Hants.

''I'm not sure who I'm more worried for, but I'm pretty impressed, he's doing an OK job of shearing for the first time,'' she said.

The world-first interactive Live And Lost tour will donate up to $10,000 it raises to the Midnight Basketball program, which teaches teenagers important life skills via mini basketball tournaments.

Originating in Redfern, Sydney, the program has expanded to include more than 30 locations nationally with the ACT's closest tournament held in Queanbeyan.

The program's motto is ''no workshop, no jumpshot'', and provides girls and boys between 12 and 18 with dinner, compulsory life-skills workshops and a three-game basketball tournament, before delivering them home via bus.

''I went down to the tournament at Albury, and we saw how much fun the kids were having,'' said Mastin, who was keen to help the cause.

Having achieved two number one ARIA singles, the 2011 X-Factor winner released his second studio album, Beautiful Nightmare last month.

This comes as X-Factor achieved last week's top television rating, while competing reality show Australia's Got Talent was axed by Channel Seven and almost immediately picked up by Channel Nine.

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When asked by farm-owner Craig Starr if shearing could be a good career move should music not work out, Mastin replied ''It took me half an hour to shear one foot - I mean leg - so I don't know about that.''

The Live And Lost tour can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and at liveandlostaustralia.com.au