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Southland shearer Leon Samuels today set a new world solo eight-hours strongwool ewe-shearing record after a tally of 605 in a woolshed north of Gore.
Shearing at Argyle Station, Waikaia, Samuels was targeting the solo record of 603 set by Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia in December 2010.
He kept the large crew and growing number of supporters until the dying moments, claiming the record only in the last two minutes of the day which comprised four two-hours runs, the first starting at 7am, and the last ending when sheep number 605 was shut through the porthole just after 5pm.
Needing an average of 151 a run (or 75.5 an hour) to break the record, he was two off the pace with 149 in the first two hours, although three ahead of the 146 shorn by Te Huia in his first run. Samuels was back on track with 153 in the two hours to lunch and 151 in the run immediately after the one-hour break, coming home with 152 in the charge to the bell.
In his record Te Huia shore runs of 146, 152, 153 and 152, breaking the previous record of 578 shorn in a Hawke's Bay shed by Northland-raised Matthew Smith, who in England last year achieved the Holy Grail of sheep shearing records with a nine-hour tally of 731.
Samuels was already in the World Sheep Shearing Records Society's books as joint holder of a four-stand lamb shearing record shorn in 2013.
A team of four judges, one from Australia and three from New Zealand, oversaw the running of the attempt today, including monitoring the quality with sheep required to average over 3kg of wool each.