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Shearing record bid disappointment

Shearing record bid disappointment

Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia overcame the disappointment of failing in a World record bid today by shearing ths last hour and threequarters for his supporters and a new personal best of 703 ewes in nine hours.

The record bid officially ended in a packed and hot Te Hape woolshed just east of Benneydale, when judges convenor Eddie Archer, of South Africa, called time just after 2.45pm, at the end of the fourth run, with a tally of 566 ewes shorn but an unlikely 156 still needed in the last hour and threequarters to break the record of 721 set by Southern Hawke's Bay shearer Rodney Sutton six years ago.

Needing an average of an unprecedented 146 in each of the two afternoon runs, Te Huia dropped further off the pace, and by afternoon smoko when the judges retired he'd run-tallies of 149 for the first run of two hours, and 141, 140 and 136 for the next three of one hour 45 minutes each.

It compared with Sutton's tallies of 158, 140, 142 and 140, before shearing a final run of 141 when he set thye record at Mangapehi, also in the King Country, on January 31, 2007.

With a previous best nine-hour tally of 674 in a two-stand record a year ago, Te Huia spoke briefly and emotionally to thank the judges, a team of more than 30 helpers, and the sponsors and the crowd, and after a short break resumed at 3.13pm, shore through unjudged to the end at 5pm and finish with 703 for the day.

Two more had been rejected by the judges on a quality basis earlier in btghe day.

Only four others have shorn more than 700 ewes in nine-hour record attempts, the first in 1994 being alo 703, by King Country legend David Fagan, who was among those guiding today's record attempt.

Te Huia, 33, had a difficult opening run, with cold sheep, locking gear, and later "feisty" sheep, and he said: "It shows why it's the hardest record to break."

By lunch he was 10 behind the target and requiring at least three sheep more per run than had ever been shorn before he knew there was little hope.

Among those who wasn't giving up was four-year-old daughter Kalani, shouting "Come on Dada" above the music and the crowd which continued to pack the woolshed despite the inevitable outcome.

ENDS

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