Shearer toughs it out to set world record

"It was tough at the end" but Gore shearer Megan Whitehead battled the afternoon blues to set a world shearing record.

She bettered Emily Welch’s 13-year solo women’s nine-hour record of 648 lambs after shearing 661 near Gore yesterday.

Gore shearer Megan Whitehead takes the fleece off another lamb, watched by father Quentin, on her...
Gore shearer Megan Whitehead takes the fleece off another lamb, watched by father Quentin, on her way to a world record yesterday. PHOTOS: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR
Whitehead (24) said the last session was the hardest.

"[The lambs] were quite kicky and I was struggling mentally, trying to stay positive and get over it."

She was counselling herself in a bid to keep calm.

"Forget about that one, get another one," she told herself.

"There’s no way in hell you’re giving up."

She was delighted with the record.

"I’m so stoked it’s all over and I’m so happy with what I’ve done."

The attempt started at 5am and in the first run Whitehead shore 153 lambs,

which ended up being the best run of the day.

She was not feeling physically tired from the effort.

"My body feels great."

Before the attempt, she aimed to average 46 seconds a sheep to end with a total of 700.

As it turned out she averaged about 50 seconds a sheep.

The attempt was organised by her father, Quentin Whitehead, who said there were a couple of times in the afternoon when he wondered if the record would be broken.

"The brain’s getting starved of oxygen ’cos she’s forgetting to breathe ’cos she’s trying to concentrate so hard," he said at one point.

"She dug very, very deep."

The crowd nervously waits for the tally to rise.
The crowd nervously waits for the tally to rise.
"Today, the lambs just went off and they were hard work," Mr Whitehead said.

The Whiteheads were involved in breeding the lambs for the record attempt, which involved crossing a Snowline ram over Wairere Romney ewes to get the right type of lamb required.

It had been a big team effort, between 70 and 100 people helping organise the event, Mr Whitehead said.

The event was overseen by five judges, one of whom viewed it by videolink from Australia.

Welch, who is now a shearing contractor in the Waikato, attended the event and said it was a "positive thing" to see her record beaten.

"I never thought I would have it so long."

 - Sandy Eggleston

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