|SHEARER SETS WORLD RECORD
By Des Williams
Reporoa shearer Justin Bell set a world shearing record near Rotorua on Saturday [4 December] by dispatching 851 woolly Romney lambs through the porthole in a standard nine-hour day. Supported by a large crew of helpers in the shed, Bell averaged 37.9 seconds for each lamb shorn, handling some 21400 kgs of animal live-weight on the shearing board during his arduous ordeal.
Working in the Onuku Maori Trust Station woolshed at Rerewhakaaitu, Bell started his Supershear-sponsored quest at 5.00 a.m. and shore 196 lambs in the two-hour run to breakfast. The approved count-out from the world shearing records committee was however reduced to 193, with three lambs deducted for inferior quality.
Bell then worked two runs of one hour-45 minutes to mid-day lunch, producing successive tallies of 168. His pace dropped fractionally in the run after lunch but saw a further 164 lambs passed by the judges, leaving him just 147 in the final run to topple the 839 shorn by Pongaroa's Rodney Sutton in 2000.
With the shed packed to capacity throughout the final hours of the marathon shear, Bell concentrated on improving his quality rating and moved past Sutton's record with seven minutes of the five-o'clock deadline up his sleeve. The final run produced 158 lambs and the judges officially ratified the tally of 851 about 15 minutes after Bell's last lamb had disappeared down the chute into the count-out pen.
The official judges, Mark Baldwin (Australia), Doug Oliver (Te Kuiti) and Lex Jury (Taranaki) gave Bell an overall quality rating of 11.38. Each lamb clipped an average of 0.96 kgs wool, well inside the minimum requirement of 0.9 kgs.
Ends. Photos available free of charge from Des Williams, (firstname.lastname@example.org )
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