Gang of four rips through record

Gang shears 2556 sheep in eight hours

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
Shearing Johnny Kirkpatrick
BARRY HARCOURT

EIGHT-HOUR DRIVE: World champion Johnny Kirkpatrick in action during the world record-setting attempt yesterday. He has top New Zealand wool handler Ronnie Goss, of Feilding, at his side.

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A lively crowd of about 800 people cheered as four shearers, two from Southland, set a world shearing record near Mossburn yesterday.

Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, Ohai's Eru Weeds - who battled on despite being injured - and North Island shearers John Kirkpatrick and James Mack, shore 2556 sheep in eight hours.

The gang set the record in the previously unattempted Heiniger four-stand crossbred lamb eight-hour event. They shore the sheep in four two-hour runs.

The final countdown was heated, as the crowd screamed and shearers sweated it out. Some members of the crowd also performed a surprise haka to the shearers when they finished shearing.

Kirkpatrick reached an individual tally of 650, Samuels 648, Mack 643 and Weeds 615.

World Shearing Records Society chairman Mark Baldwin, who came from Australia to judge the event, said it was always good to see a record set or broken.

"It's not hard to see that these records aren't given away; they've worked pretty hard for it," he said as Weeds limped off the stand.

Weeds, in a lot of pain, said he had injured his hip at about 8am but continued to push through the day.

"My team got me through; it's a good feeling," he said.

He would have his hip seen to, but was unsure last night what the injury was.

After the final run, Samuels said he felt good and looked forward to setting more world records.

"I'll do that again any day, it was good fun. We all stuck to our guns and at the end of the day we all got there," he said.

Convenor and organiser Brendon Potae said the support was great with about 800 at the event.

"Southland people supported it. The boys had a good day - they put a new score on the board," he said.

Weeds' mum, Diane Weeds, was his woolhandler for the day and said the shearers had worked hard in the lead-up to the event.

They had been on a strict diet for about three months which included no alcohol or cigarettes.

The gang will be presented with a framed certificate at the Golden Shears at Masterton next month.

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- The Southland Times

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