World two-stand lamb shearing record stretched to 1410

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand, January 9, 2023

Justin Bell, left, monitors the time and target as he helps Simon Goss break the record Bell and Sean Edmonds held for 30 years. Photo – Ariana Aspinall.

ANOTHER world lamb shearing record has been cracked on New Zealand’s North Island, helped by one of the pair of shearers who had held the record for two decades.

Simon Goss, 26, of Mangamahu, north-east of Whanganui, and 32 year-old Jamie Skiffington, of Rotorua, shore 1410 to break the eight hour record for strong wool lambs last Wednesday.

In Goss’s corner in an historic woolshed at Mangamahu Valley property The Glades, farmed by father and 1985 Golden Shears intermediate champion Alan Goss, was Southern Hawke’s Bay farmer Justin Bell, who with Whanganui shearer Sean Edmonds held the previous record of 1406, shorn on December 16, 2002, at Opepe Trust Farm, Taupo.

It was the third eight hour strong wool lambs record shorn in New Zealand in 15 days, following Taihape shearer Reuben Alabaster’s solo record of 746 on December 20 and Te Kuiti gun Jack Fagan’s new mark of 754 just two days later.

Neither Goss nor Skiffington was expected to challenge the solo mark, but each put in a particularly bold and consistent effort timed to perfection; with the record-breaking 1407th lamb disappearing down the chute with about 20 seconds left.

Jamie Skiffington with a kick in his step shearing 695 as his contribution to the record. Photo – Ariana Aspinall.

Each making a record bid for the first time and shearing the standard eight hour 7am-5pm day of four two-hour runs, with breaks for morning and afternoon smoko and lunch, Goss finished with 715 (182, 179, 179, 175) and Skiffington shore 695 (166, 175, 177, 177), after having one lamb each rejected by the five-man World Sheep Shearing Records Society judges, headed by Scotland official Andy Rankin.

When lunch was taken at the halfway stage at 11.30am, they had shorn 702, although the tally for the four hours was 18 less than the morning effort of Bell and Edmonds in their big shear 20 years ago. They shore run-by-run tallies of 348, 354, 356 and 352, which compared with the Bell-Edmonds tallies of 362, 358, 348 and 338.

Record-breaking shearers Simon Goss, left, and Jamie Skiffington with the evidence of their triumph at The Shades on Wednesday. Photo – SSNZ

It was possibly the biggest day in the history of the Mangamahu woolshed, understood to have been built a century ago and extended in the 1950s.

With wet weather having dominated the region, as evidenced by the multiple cleared slips on Mangamahu Rd and the erosion in the surrounding hills, 1660 lambs were penned under cover over       night, after the judges had given the go-ahead when the wool from 20 lambs shorn in the pre-record wool-weigh on Tuesday afternoon averaged 0.925kg, just meeting the minimum requirement.

Bell, having watched from the closest of angle and having experienced the pain of records at both eight and nine hours, said the two shearers were under pressure “from the word go”, as the eight-hour record lived up to its reputation with the peak requirements of the 120-minute runs.

“It’s a true physical battle,” he said. “That good, old Kiwi attitude: They never gave up.”

Judging convener Rankin, who was also involved at Welsh shearer Lloyd Rees’s British breed record of 902 lambs in nine hours in Wales in August, said at Mangamahu: “These record are pretty tough. This was a real tough one.”

“It’s been an absolute privilege to be here to watch these guys go through hell to achieve it,” he said.

Simon Goss’ record-breaking progress is watched by sister Sarah Hirini. He shore 715 lambs in eight hours to help set a two-stand record of 1410. Photo – Ariana Aspinall.

An army of other helpers were around, including Golden Shears and world champion and record-breaker John Kirkpatrick, veteran records pen crew member and record-holder Digger Balme. The near capacity crowd in the woolshed included partners and family, among them Goss’s sister and women’s rugby star Sarah Hirini.

The record attempt doubled as a Heart Foundation fundraiser, in a poignant gesture relative to the death of Goss’s mother, former Golden Shears open wool handling champion Ronnie Goss, while at a competition in Taumarunui in 2021.

Among the many helpers thanked by the shearers was Rotorua contractor Jeff Dorset, a veteran of backing successful record bids by his shearer over the years.

Four more world shearing record attempts are currently scheduled to take place in New Zealand and Australia over the next 8 weeks. They are:

January 27, 2023: Amy Silcock, from Tiraumea, will, at Ross Na Clonagh, near Pahiatua, attempt the solo woman’s eight hour strong wool ewe record of 370, held by Marie Prebble, of England, at Trefrank Farm, Cornwall, England, on August 25, 2022.

January 28, 2023: Aidan Copp, from Christchurch but based in Gunning, NSW, will, at Gala Estate, Cranbrook, Tasmania, attempt to regain the solo eight hour crossbred lamb record of 527, held by Floyde Neil, of Boyup Brook, West Australia, but shorn at Taumarunui, near Kojonup, Western Australia, on November 13, 2022.

February 4, 2023: Sacha Bond, from Woodville and living in the King Country, will, at Fairlight Station, Southland, attempt the women’s eight hour strong wool lamb record of 510, held by Pauline Bolay, of Canada, at Whitford Farms, Waikaretu, on December 7, 2019.

February 25, 2023: Aidan Copp will, at Cranbrook, Tasmania, attempt the solo eight hour Merino ewe record of 497, held by Louis Brown, from Napier, but shorn in Australia, near Kojonup, Western Australia, on April 27, 2019.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -