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Two shearing records to be attempted in January

by Doug Laing, 20 December 2017

The first modern-era women’s ewe shearing record bid and an attempt on a record set by New Zealand champion Rowland Smith in England in July have been confirmed for early next month.

The first is scheduled for January 15 when Kerri-Jo Te Huia, of Te Kuiti, will tackle shearing ewes for nine hours for possibly the first time, at Otapawa Station, east of Eketahuna in northern Wairarapa.

There are currently no women’s ewe-shearing records for either eight hours or nine hours.

A fortnight later, on January 29, Southland shearer Leon Samuels will attempt to reclaim the men’s eight-hours ewe-shearing record by tackling the mark of 644 set by Smith five months ago.

The bid will take place at Argyle Station, in the Waikaia district of Northern Southland, where Samuels set the previous record of 605 in February last year.

World Sheep Shearing Records Society secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Whangamata, confirmed applications for the record bids had been received and plans are being made for the appointment of the judging panels, in each case comprising one from the North Island, one from the South Island and one from overseas.

Te Huia is already the holder of the women’s 8hrs lamb-shearing record, with a total of 507 shorn in a King Country woolshed in January 2012, and is the brother of multiple records holder Stacey Te Huia.

She says she’s never done a nine-hour day on ewes, which will have to average at least 3kg of wool each for a record to be recognised.

Her best in eight hours is about 314, and she laughs off the prospects and how it will happen in just under four weeks’ time as “bloody scary.”

Working for contractor Hemara Tua Davidson, and making the bid in a 10-stand woolshed with cover for up to 3600 ewes and which qualifies as one of the biggest to be used for a record bid in New Zealand, she said: “We’re not sure how we’re gonna do it. I reckon pace for half the day, get the rhythm, the flow, and let loose the last two runs.”

The opportunity for the bid, which will start with a two-hour run from 5am to breakfast, followed by four runs of 1hr 45mins to the finish at 5pm, arose only after her brother flagged another attempt on the men’s nine hour record of 731, set by Smith’s brother, Matthew, in England in 2016.

Samuels’ record bid will comprise four two-hour runs, expected to start at 7am and end at 5pm, needing an average of over 80 an hour to beat the record set by Smith in Cornwall on July 24 with unprecedented consistency of 161 in each of the two-hour runs.

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