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Hot pace on a hot day as shearers break three-stand record

Three Waikato shearers yesterday (Monday) smashed a World record despite temperatures well over 30degs in a woolshed west of State Highway 3 town Piopio.

Chasing the three-stand strongwool lambs record for eight hours, Coel L’Huillier, Kaleb Foote and Daniel Langlands averaged more than 20 lambs every quarter-hour each to set a new mark of 1976, comfortably passing the previous mark of 1825 with about 40 minutes to go.

Shearing at Ingleby Farms’ Puketiti Station, the 33-year-old L’Huillier topped the individual tallies with 677, getting his name into the World Sheep Shearing Records Society’s books for a third time. Foote, a 25-year-old former New Zealand Intermediate shearing champion, shore 667, and Langlands, 28, cruised past his goal of the first 600 of his career and finished with 632.

Among those in the big support crew of over 50 was Te Kuiti-based Welsh shearer Delwyn Jones, one of the three who set the previous record in another King Country woolshed in January 2017.

The new record-holders were overwhelmed by the community and family support, Foote telling the shedful as he held his certificate in the air: “It was all for us (three) to get one of these. It’s a pity that no one else gets one.”

L’Huillier regarded himself as the outsider drafted-in to help the locals but said the support from the community was “unbelievable”, and added: “It’s been one hell of a journey.”

Langlands, who had 84-year-old granddad Rex among a group of eight family who’d travelled from Opunake for the day, said it was contractor Mark Barrowcliffe who pulled it all together but it needed the help of a large number of people including station manager Rusty Morgan, the large shed crew, the judges, convened by Australian official Peter Artridge, the woolhandlers, and gear experts Alan “Mickey” MacDonald.

Barrowcliffe said he would normally have had about 60 staff working on Sunday and Monday, but they were helping with the record, including a 4am start on Sunday to draft and prepare 2300 lambs from the 9000 available. Client farmers had played their part, by allowing their shearing to be put-off a day or two to help the cause.

Starting at 7am, the trio was always ahead of the pace, with 512 in the first of the four two-hour runs and 1005 by lunch, well-up on the previous record’s half-way mark of 920 and putting in sight a goal of 2000 for the day.

L’Huillier and Foote were still taking less than 35 seconds a lamb machine-on to machine-off in the afternoon, but the heat was taking its toll and the record could have been higher but for about 10 lambs discounted as not up to the quality standard.

L’Huillier had run-by-run tallies of 178, 168, 165 and 166, Foote runs of 174, 166, 166 and 161, and Langlands 160, 159, 157 and 156.

It was the second World shearing record broken in New Zealand in just over a fortnight, with Canadian shearer Pauline Bolay having shorn a women’s eight-hour record of 510 lambs on December 7.

The next attempt will be on January 4 when prolific records shearer Stacey Te Huia will tackle a solo nine-hours merino wethers record which has stood for more than 20 years.


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