Aussie becomes first to share in NZ record

The world's first four stand, nine hour lamb shearing record was established at Waihi Pukawa station, near Turangi, yesterday.

Three New Zealand shearers and one Australian shore over 700 lambs each to set a four-stand total of 2897 lambs.

A large crowd of spectators saw King Country farmer James Fagan, 31, nephew of five times world champion David Fagan, ring the board with the highest tally of 740 lambs. This is the same tally his father, John Fagan, shore in a similar world record 28 years ago in 1979.

Cartwright Terry, 34 of Cambridge shore a tally of 734 lambs.

An Australian, Beau Guelfi, 28 - originally of Kukerin, Western Australia but now living in Gisborne - shore 713 lambs.

Guelfi is the first Australian shearer to share in a New Zealand world lamb shearing record, and he is the first Australian to have shorn over 700 lambs in a tally recognised by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.

Record organiser and Taumaranui shearing contractor Roger Neil, 36, carrying an arm injury, was the drummer - the slowest shearer at the tail end of the team - shearing 710 lambs.

David Fagan, of principal sponsor Supershear and an experienced record shearer himself, said "it was good for these guys to start a new record given they had a bad week of rain beforehand, and it was pretty good for all to shear over 700".

"It was a pleasure to be a part of a great atmosphere on the day ... they were all really close and competitive all day".

Judges from Australia and New Zealand scored the record attempt well within the maximum penalty of 12 quality points per pen (20 lambs counted at a time), with only 10 sheep in total removed for poor quality from the overall tally.

Chief judge, Colin Gibson of Oamaru said it was a good effort, given setbacks such as torrential rain earlier in the week, and the Australian judge having to return to Australia after midday. His place was taken by John Fagan of the World Records committee, who stood in at the last moment.

Gibson said "it would be hard to find enough good sheep and four guys who could shear over 700 on a day like this, and we commend the effort".

This is the second world record of the 2007 shearing season, following Emily Welch's new women's record of 648 lambs in nine hours set last month near Hamilton.

On January 10, an attempt is to be made on the world ewe shearing eight hour record by Marton shearer, Blair Rhodes at Mangaweka, in the Rangitikei district.