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Shearing gun Copp aims for the top in Aussie record bid

A Canterbury shearer will tomorrow (Saturday) attempt to become the latest to set World shearing records on both sides of the Tasman as he tackles a lambs record set during a spree of new tallies by an Australian gun almost 14 years ago.

Aidan Copp, 34 and now living and working mainly in Australia, is chasing the 8-hours merino-cross lambs record of 519 held by Dwayne Black, son of Australia-based New Zealand shearer and trainer Peter Black.

Copp, who entered the record books with 586 in a five-stand strongwool lambs record of 2910 in a remote King Country woolshed in January 2015, will make his new bid at a Gnadbro Pastoral property in the Riverina, a rural district in southwest New South Wales.

He faces four two-hour runs, under the watchful eye of a four-man transtasman judging panel, needing an average of at least 65 an hour caught, shorn and despatched to beat Black’s record, set with successive run tallies of 131, 131, 128 and 129 at the Bendigo show in Victoria in October 2005.

It added a whopping 48 to the record, previously held by 1997 transtasman test Australian representative Trevor Bacon, who shore 471 at Hamilton, Vic., in October 2002.

New Zealand shearing judge Robert McLaren will head the panel appointed by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, joined by Australian judges Mark Baldwin, Ralph Blue and Peter Artridge.

Copp told Australian media it’s been a dream to tackle a solo record, and he has supplemented the regimented training of eight hours a day at work in the woolshed with stints at the gym, on the rowing machines and assault bikes, and runs of up to 20km a day.

“This World record is something I have been dreaming of,” he said. “If I achieve it I will be proud because it is something I have really worked hard for. Hopefully it all comes together.”

It won’t come cheap, with Costs including a fee of $US2500, meeting all travel, accommodation and meals costs of the judges and others costs associated with feeding a large team of support staff.

It will be the first of two record attempts within a week, the second to take place in Wiltshire, England, on August 24, when English shearers Jonny Roberts and Martin Howlett will tackle the two-stand, 8hrs strongwool ewes record of 1068 set by New Zealand shearers Coel L’Huillier and Kelvin Walker near Benneydale in January 2017.

North Canterbury judge Paul Harris will travel to the UK to officiate, joined by South Australian official David Brooker and Welsh judges Martyn David and Arwyn Jones.

There were no record attempts in the 2018-2019 New Zealand season but already two bids have been made in Australia this year, including the 8hr solo merino ewes record of 497 set by former New Zealand shearer Lou Brown in West Australia ion April 27.

The last record in New Zealand was a women’s 9hrs strongwool ewes record set by Kerri Jo Te Huia in a Wairarapa woolshed in January 2018.

Greater international interest was sparked by the breaking of the ultimate 9hr solo strongwool ewes and lambs records by New Zealand shearer Matt Smith and Irish gun Ivan Scott in July 2016 at the property farmed by Smith in Cornwall, England.

Records society secretary Hugh McCarroll said at least one record attempt is expected to be held in New Zealand this summer, with a three-stand record forecast for a King Country woolshed in late-December.


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