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Lining Up For Shearing Records

At least seven attempts will be made on World sheep shearing records in New Zealand and Australia over the next four months, mainly by New Zealand shearers and targeting some of the oldest tallies on the register of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.

The first three will all be in West Australia, starting next Wednesday when Dunedin-born Koen Black attempts the solo eight-hours merino lambs record of 570 set by brother Dwayne Black 18 years ago. The attempt will take place at Kulikup, Boyup Brook, next Wednesday.

The next will be a November 5 attempt by Louis Brown, Jim Brown and Imran Sullivan at Bella Vista, Cranbrook, targeting both the solo record and the three-stand record of 1208 shorn by South African shearers Ken Norman, Patrick Malgase and Charles August near the Free State town of Tromsburg, South Africa, in February 2003.

A week later, on November 12, West Australia-based Floyd Neil, from Taumarunui, will attempt the eight-hours crossbred lamb record near Kojonup. The record of 524 was shorn by South Island shearer Aidan Copp in New South Wales in August 2019.

The eight-hours strongwool lambs record of 744 shorn by Irish shearer Ivan Scott at Opepe, near Taupo, in January 2012 will be tackled by young Taihape shearer Reuben Alabaster at Te Pa Station, near Raetihi, on December 20, and the same record will be challenged two days later by Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan at Puketiti Station, near King Country town Pio Pio.

Northern Wairarapa property Ross na Clonagh, east of Pahiatua, will on January 27 be the venue for Wairarapa shearer Amy Silcock’s attempt on the women’s solo eight-hours strongwool ewes record of 370 set in England by Marie Prebble in August, and the South Island’s first record attempt of the season will be King Country shearer Sacha Bond’s February 4 bid at Fairlight Station, Southland, for the women’s eight-hours strongwool lambs record of 510 shorn by New Zealand-based Canadian shearer Pauline Bolay near Waikaretu, between Hamilton and Auckland, in December 2019.

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Louis Brown, based in Australia but from Hawke’s Bay, is already the holder of the solo eight-hours merino record of 497 shorn near Kojonup in 2019, Neil is the son of Roger Neil, who was part of a four-stand lambs record for nine hours set in 2007, Alabaster and Fagan were in a successful five-stand strongwool lambs record for nine hours last December, and Silcock was in a four-stand women’s lambs record for nine hours in January 2020.

Fagan is also son of multiple records breaker and World Champion shearer Sir David Fagan.

World Sheep Shearing Records Society secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Tauranga, says the surge is not surprising, with several record attempts put on hold during the global pandemic despite the preparation hopefuls had put-in, including strict training and nutritional regimes, and establishing the substantial crews and funding.

The society receives the applications for the record attempts and appoints international judging panels to oversee them and ensure all standards of quality and competition rules are met.

To make sure the efforts were not wasted three records were set during the pandemic with the restrictions of Covid-19 rules in place, and the judges on-site teaming with oversees appointees monitoring the events on-line from their homes, including on the other side of the World in the dead of night.

Applications have been received for all seven record attempts, but McCarroll says he is aware of other attempts being planned but not yet officially notified

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