WA shearer sets drug-free world record with 604 Merino lambs

Terry Sim, October 31, 2022

A Black day for shearing – from left, brothers Perry, Dwayne and Koen celebrate the final tally with their father Peter. Image – Lojik Shearing Training.

WESTERN Australian sheep shearer Koen Black struck a blow for drug-free shearing when he set a new world Merino lamb shearing record of 604 lambs in eight hours last Thursday.

In a Boyup Brook shed helped a big team of family and friends, the 26 year-old broke the 570-lamb record set by his brother Dwayne 20 years ago.

Koen Black goes up the neck on another Merino lamb. Image – Lojik Shearing Training.

Koen said his world record shear was the first to involve a drug test in Australia, by the official body The World Sheep Shearing Records Society Inc., that oversees all official attempts under WSSRS rules.

Koen said drug tests for world record attempt shearers are normally done randomly.

“But we pushed the judges to do one for us so there was no argument – it was the first one in Australia.”

He said there was a stereotype portraying shearers as drinking beer and taking drugs.

“We are trying to change that.”

Koen said he had shorn 587 lambs in the sheds a few years ago and shore 614 Merino lambs in an unofficial record shear in October last year.

“That’s what made us want to do the official record this year.

“I had not doubts there just some nervous energy for the first run or two and once it settled down and we realised we were going to do well it was just lasting the day out after that,” he said.

The strain shows on Koen Black’s face. Image – Lojik Shearing Training.

The record has been on his radar for about five years and each year he has trained on the job, and with weights and many hours on a rowing machine after hours to strengthen his core.

Koen said there 45-50 people in his team leading up to and during Thursday, including several family members. Brother Dwayne was his timekeeper and offsider on the board giving him advice throughout the successful attempt.

“They were all doing critical jobs to make the day go through and I couldn’t have done it without them.

“It is a shame that I’m the only person that gets a (WSSRS) certificate, because I think they all deserve one” he said.

“It’s not my record, it’s our record.”

Koen said he will also help out his mate and contractor Floyde Neil when he attempts the eight-hour crossbred lamb record at ‘Slab Hutt Grazing’ near Kojonup on Saturday 12th November. WSSRS referees for the Neil attempt will be convenor Neil Fagan from New Zealand, and Grant Borchardt, Mike Henderson and Mark Baldwin, Australia.


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