Kiwi-born brothers plan shearing record attempt in WA

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand, March 24, 2023

Taumarunui shearer Floyde Neil in his successful Merino lamb record in Western Australia in November. Photo – Taesa Brown.

NEW Zealand-born shearing brothers Floyde and Levi Neil are out to get their names into the World Sheep Shearing Records Society’s annals in Western Australia next month.

The brothers, Floyde, 30, and Levi, 28, plan to set a mark for the vacant nine-hours two-stand Merino ewe category.

They come from Taumarunui in New Zealand’s North Island, but are based in Boyup Brook, WA. They are sons of Roger Neil, who helped set a four-stand strong wool lamb shearing record for nine hours in 2007.

Floydel, who runs his own crew out of Boyup Brook, will also be chasing the solo record of 530, set by fellow-Kiwi Stacey Te Huia near Dubbo, New South Wales, in February 2015.

He has already had his name in the books, for a solo Merino lamb record shorn in November last year, but held for just 10 weeks.

The record bid will take place on April 22 at Rockliffe, near Kojonup – where Lou Brown, from Hawke’s Bay, set an eight hours Merino ewes record in 2019.

It will be the 11th world sheep shearing record in the World Sheep Shearing Record Society’s 2022-2023 year.

The record attempts have taken place in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. All but one has been successful, including Floyde Neil’s eight hour crossbred lamb record of 527 on November 13, and the 605 lambs shorn by former record holder Aidan Copp, from Canterbury, but also based in Australia, in regaining the record in January.

Floyde spoke of his record hopes while back in New Zealand for the Golden Shears in Masterton two weeks ago, and the record bid was confirmed by records society secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Tauranga, with the appointment of South Island official Alistair Emslie as judging convener, joined by Australian judges Ralph Blue, Grant Borchard and Mark Buscumb.

Te Huia already held two strong wool ewes records set in New Zealand when he tackled the Merino record of 513 eight years ago,  shearing 113 in the opening run of two hours and 103, 105, 104 and 105 in successive one hour 45-minute runs through the rest of the day.

Floyde Neil’s record bids were first plotted over three years ago and put on-hold during the pandemic, but almost didn’t go ahead until the plans were revived last year. He suffered a brain bleed in a wool shed about three months before the November record and for some time doubted he could go ahead.

Now he’s also plotting something even bigger – up to six flights from Western Australia next Summer to compete in the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit, a series of five shows starting at the New Zealand Merino Shears in Alexandra in October, plus the finals at the 2024 Golden Shears.

Personal best efforts hint at record bids

Meanwhile, numerous personal bests are being shorn in non-judged conditions in wool sheds around New Zealand, hinting at possible other bids for major records next summer.

On March 13, Simon Goss – who in January shore in a two-stand lamb record for eight hours – shore a nine-hour ewe tally of 804. The official nine-hour record for strong wool ewes is 731.

Last week, in-form competition shearer Toa Henderson shore a nine-hour tally of 911 lambs, while the official record is 872.

Official record attempts are governed by rules including minimum wool weights and quality judging.


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