Ettrick-born shearer claims 'hard-won' world record

Ettrick-born shearer Luke Vernon works rapidly, on his way to breaking the world record for...
Ettrick-born shearer Luke Vernon works rapidly, on his way to breaking the world record for shearing Merino ewes in eight hours. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
On an average eight-hour workday most people manage some work in between breaks.

A few emails, a bit of admin and suddenly it is time to go home.

Ettrick-born shearer Luke Vernon had a very different eight-hour workday — at the weekend he managed to break a world record in the same amount of time.

The former Millers Flat School and Dunstan High School pupil, now living in Western Australia, beat the former record for shearing Merino ewes in eight hours, set by Australia-based Lou Brown, originally from Hawke’s Bay, in 2019.

There were just three sheep in it, 500 from the Ettrick man to Brown’s 497.

The record was hard won, Vernon, 28, said yesterday.

"The day probably didn’t go as well as I hoped.

"I had a nervous start to the day and didn’t shear at my best until the last run, I’d say.

"But that’s what record shearing is all about."

He dipped out at the start, when it was ruled he had not taken enough wool off the sheep, in his first batch.

Before the event, he trained with United Kingdom-based trainer Matt Luxton, who worked with a range of athletes including shearers.

That meant getting up at 4.30am, shearing all day, then heading to the gym for an hour and a-half afterwards.

Partner La Toya Te Kapa kept him fed, the household running and their 2-year-old daughter Lola looked after, leaving Vernon free to concentrate on his training.

While Vernon’s name might be in the record books, he could not have done it without his family and the team of about 20 people who were with him on the day.

"It’s not a one-man job.

"All I had to do was shear the sheep ... they knew I was up against it and they kept me calm.

"I can’t thank them enough."

There were quiet celebrations after the record was broken and Vernon was looking forward to enjoying some family time now it was over.