World shearing record falls after 16 years
A world shearing record that went unchallenged for 16 years has been broken in front of a frenzied crowd of over 150 packed into a King Country woolshed.
The longstanding two-stand nine-hour ewe-shearing record was set by Southlanders Darin Forde and Wayne Ingram back in 1996 and beaten today by Stacey Te Huia, of Te Kuiti, and Sam Welch, of Waikaretu.
The new record-holders shore a combined tally of 1341 ewes to beat the by six the previous record of 1335 set by the Southlanders.
Darin Forde said records were made to be broken.
"It's very good that it's broken and it's a long time ago since we did it.
"I heard a rumour earlier today that they were very close ... they were very well prepared and the sheep were good."
Judges praised the quality of the shearing of the two men at Ter Hape, east of Benneydale, and only two sheep were rejected, both from the pen of Te Huia in the opening two-hour run from 5am to breakfast.
When the final sheep slid down the porthole just after 5pm, Te Huia was credited with 674 for the day, while Welch shore 667.
Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman and 1980s records breaker John Fagan said it was a stunning day, turning around from a difficult first two hours in which the pair were 14 off the pace set by the Southland pair.
Te Huia was at his fastest near the end, occasionally fleecing ewes in as little as 30 seconds each in the last hour.