|BLACK BREAKS RECORD AT FIRST ATTEMPT
- By Des Williams - email
Timaru shearer Grant Black set a new world shearing record at Mount Peel, Canterbury, on Thursday 24 January 2002 with a tally of 637 lambs in an eight-hour working day. Black's effort over four two-hour runs eclipsed the previous mark of 621 set by Te Kuiti shearer Dig Balme near Benneydale in 1999, and was his first attempt at a shearing record.
The 29-year-old Black preceded his record-breaking day with nine months of intensive training, including running, rowing and weight lifting to supplement his usual shearing routines. Starting at 7.30 am, Black completed 162 lambs in his run to morning smoko. With a half-hour break, the next run saw his output drop to 157 - cooler conditions in the shed being a contributing factor - but the half-way tally of 319 was still 11 ahead of the pace required to beat Balme's mark.
The two afternoon runs produced 161 and 157 respectively for a confirmed final tally of 637. The Coopworth lambs averaged a wool clip of 1.3 kgs, well above the minimum wool weight of 0.9 kg as required by the official world shearing record rules.
Black's record day was master-minded by Pleasant Point shearing contractor Adrian Cox, while the shearer had close friend Justin Meikle as his "second" for the day. Former world ewe shearing champion Dion Morrell of Lawrence prepared Black's shearing gear.
A large crowd attended the shed throughout the day, with some 200 friends and supporters on hand at 5.30 pm when Black's physical and mental ordeal came to its successful conclusion.
World record judges Doug Oliver (Te Kuiti); Don Morrison (Christchurch) and Paul Rose (Geraldine) officiated, assessing Black's overall quality rating for the day at 11.21. (Sheep assessed above a 12-penalty point quality rating are discounted from the tally. Black had three lambs rejected during the day.)
Grant Black has been an open class competitor on the New Zealand shearing sports circuit since the 1995/96 season and has been a regular finalist in South Island competitions. His major success to date came at Waimate in October 2000 when he won the New Zealand Spring Shears title. He has already featured in major finals at Waimate, Christchurch and Rakaia during the current season.