World record success for sheep shearer

By The Post in Local People

CHAMPION shearer, Rowland Smith, clipped his way into the world record books by conquering the ‘Eight Hour Ewe World Shearing Record’.

A record attempt of this type is an extremely demanding challenge and involved Rowland, a 30-year-old shearer from New Zealand, beginning his shearing marathon on Monday at 7am for two hours, followed by a further three runs each of two hours.

Rowland shattered the previous world record by shearing 644 ewes in eight hours; an average of one sheep per 44.72 seconds, regularly achieving under 35 seconds per sheep.

The previous ‘Eight Hour Ewe World Shearing Record’ stood at 605 ewes and was held by Leon Samuels from South Island, New Zealand. Prior to Leon’s attempt, the record had not been broken since 2010 which is testament to Rowland’s achievement.

The successful world record attempt took place at Trefranck Farm, St Clether, which is the home farm of Rowland’s brother Matt. Throughout the day, Rowland was surrounded by friends, family and other shearers and sheep producers who came to offer their support.

Commenting afterwards, a victorious Rowland said: “I am on top of the world after successfully setting a new world record for shearing. It has by no means been an easy road to get here, but having been inspired by my brother, Matt, I am delighted that all of the hard work has paid off.”

For months Rowland has been working with his fitness trainers, Matt Luxton and Mike Goodman, through live online sessions as well as Mike travelling to New Zealand to coach Rowland personally. Since his arrival in the UK, Rowland has also participated in a number of shearing competitions in order to wholly prepare for his record attempt.

British Wool views competitive shearing as an increasingly important platform to highlight the importance of this industry skill, and a means of encouraging the next generation of shearers to strive to challenge themselves. Events such as these provide a great boost for the wool industry, not only in the UK, but globally, and Rowland was fully supported by British Wool both in advance and during the challenge itself.

Alan Marshall, British Wool’s board member for South West England, said: “I would firstly like to extend congratulations to Rowland on behalf of British Wool. This is an incredible achievement to add to his already gleaming shearing CV. World shearing record attempts are the ultimate challenge for any shearer and it is so good for the British and global wool industry that Rowland chose to complete his here in the UK.”

Shearing is in Rowland’s DNA having been taught the art by his father and two older brothers at the age of 12. For a number of years he travelled the world, following the shearing season to various countries including Finland, Estonia and the USA. Today he is firmly settled in Hawkes Bay, on the North Island of New Zealand, with his wife and two — soon to be three — children.

Rowland began shearing competitively at the age of 13, and can now add the ‘Eight Hour World Shearing Record’ to his long list of shearing titles.

His four major achievements to date include; four times Golden Shears Open Shearing winner, five times New Zealand Shearing Championships Open Shearing winner, former World Machine Shearing Champion, former two-stand eight hour world shearing record holder (alongside his brother Doug), Master Shearer, and most recently, the 2017 New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year.

Always keen to support the next generation of young shearers, Rowland will now be supporting British Wool with its shearing training courses which take place across the UK from May through to July.

Approximately 1,000 people attend these courses each year to learn from instructors with a wealth of experience and knowledge and gain ‘Seal’ accredited awards.

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