New Zealand shearers take on Western Australia’s Merinos

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand, November 4, 2022

Lou Brown, who with brother Jim and cousin Imran Sullivan attempts a world shearing record in West Australia tomorrow. Photo – supplied

THREE shearers with strong links to New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay area will tackle a world record on the tough fine wool Merino sheep of Western Australia tomorrow.

Brothers Lou and Jim Brown grew up in Napier and their cousin and Australia-born Imran Sullivan’s parents are from Hawke’s Bay. Their father Stu, a shearing contractor in Kangaroo Island, is from Havelock North, and mother Huia Sullivan is from Hastings.

They moved to Australia in 1988, amid a wave of Hawke’s Bay shearing whanau setting-up camp in the shearing industry in Australia.

Lou Brown is already the holder of the world solo eight-hour Merino ewe record, a tally of 497 set near Kojonup, in the Great Southern region of West Australia, in April 2019, when he was 31.

He said at the time he had other records in mind and, with the coronavirus crisis putting the dream on hold, the time has arrived and the three will be tackling the eight-hour three-stand Merino lamb record set by South Africans Ken Norman (456), Charles August (377), Patrick Mulgase (375) near Trompsburg, Free State, in February 2003.

The record attempt, of four two-hour runs with break for morning and afternoon tea and lunch. It will be overseen by five judges appointed by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, who will be headed by Wairarapa farmer Ronnie King, will  take place at Bella Vista, near Cranbrooke, also in the Great Southern region of West Australia.

The three shearers will also be attempting to break the new solo record of 604, which was set less than a fortnight ago by Dunedin-born Australia-based Koen Black, 20 years after the previous record of 570 was set by brother Dwayne Black.

On November 13, also in the Great Southern region, Floyde Neil, based in West Australia but from Taumarunui, will attempt the eight-hour crossbred lambs record of 524 set by New Zealand shearer Aidan Copp in New South Wales three years ago.

The shearing records focus will switch back to New Zealand next month, with two attempts on the eight-hours strong wool lambs record – by Taihape shearer Reuben Alabaster on December 20 and two days later by Jack Fagan, of Te Kuiti.

Two attempts will be made on women’s records in New Zealand early in the New Year.

Meanwhile, both Lou Brown and Fagan have had other success in the last week, with wins at a Speedshear at the Dinninup Show.


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