Dry sheep vital for crack at record
A shearing world record attempt in Mossburn today was almost cancelled because judges had to wait for the sheep to dry after yesterday's rain.
Organisers were busy drying off more than 3000 sheep, some with blowers, so judges could get accurate wool weight samples.
Up to 1000 people are expected to watch two Southland shearers join forces with the North Island for their first-ever world record attempt, near Mossburn.
Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, Ohai's Eru Weeds and North Island shearers James Mack and John Kirkpatrick will set the previously unattempted Heiniger four-stand crossbred lambs eight-hour world record.
Gearing up for the event yesterday, Samuels said he was getting nervous because it was his first time at trying to set a world record.
"We're all in the same boat.
"Hopefully we should be all right," he said.
It was lucky the nerves did not get in the way of a good night's sleep, unlike some of the other shearers, he said.
Alexandra shearing contractor Dion Morrell, who is timekeeping for Kirkpatrick, said there was quite a good team around each shearer.
"Knowing those four shearers we're expecting quite a solid number of sheep to come out of them.
"They've got fairly high expectations of themselves," he said.
The event was about endurance, rhythm, timing and shearing quickly, he said.
Morrell set four shearing world records and still holds one from 1993.
Contractor and event organiser Brendon Potae said the shearers had been training like athletes, putting in up to 18 hours training a week for seven months, on top of fulltime work.
"The training is for endurance.
"A lot of pool work, gym, bike, aerobics," he said.
But the past two days had been about restoring energy by resting and eating. "Records are made to be challenged and broken; if they shear 2700 we'll be pretty happy."
World Shearing Records Society secretary Hugh McCarroll said the wet weather posed a problem yesterday with organisers unsure if the event would go ahead.
The warmer the weather, the easier and faster the wool is removed from the sheep.
Samuels will be supported by Winton contractor Darrin Forde as timekeeper and Tuatapere woolhandler Bernadette Forde.
Woolhandler Diane Weeds will be helping out her son.
The challenge is at Centre Hill Station, near Mossburn, from 7am to 5pm.
The Southland Times