Weather dampens shearing record attempt

30 Mar, 2005 08:45 PM

BAD weather forced 31-year-old Esperance shearer Dwayne Black to postpone his world record shearing attempt near Kojonup last weekend.

The event has been rescheduled for this Saturday.

Dwayne had shorn 291 Merino ewes in the three runs before lunch when a decision was made to call off the record attempt due to rain and a cooler temperature, which were making it more difficult for him to shear younger ewes.

Dwayne, who could not be contacted before Farm Weekly went to press, is attempting to break the world Merino nine-hour shearing record of 507 ewes set by Dion Morrell in New Zealand's South Island in 1997.

If Dwayne had been successful, this weekend's attempt would have been for the world Merino ewe eight-hour title.

Organiser Peter Black said his son was unlikely to have beaten the record in the remaining time last weekend due to deteriorating weather conditions.

He said Dwayne had shorn 104 ewes in the first run, 95 in the second run and 92 in the run before lunch.

It began to rain again during lunch, at which time Dwayne was 17 sheep behind the record holder.

"If the sun had come out and warmed up more, we might have had a chance, but rain started again and so it was decided to stop," Mr Black said.

He said the Merinotech ewes on Nick and Jane Trethowan's property near Kojonup had been redrafted in preparation for the next attempt.

"We have no doubt we've got the right shearer and the right sheep," Mr Black said.

"So we have no hesitation in trying again and we will be prepared for cooler weather with older sheep and different shed conditions.

"This is definitely a setback but it's also a timely reminder just how hard it is to break a shearing record."

During the record attempt last Saturday, University of WA School of Human Movement and Exercise staff monitored Dwayne to learn more about the physical and mental pressures of shearing.

His temperature, heart rate, body weight and nutrient intake were recorded with a series of blood and urine samples also taken.

Dwayne, who is a former business studies student at UWA, will become the first person to hold more than three official shearing records at one time if he is successful this weekend.

He already holds three official world shearing records, the nine-hour Merino lamb, eight-hour Merino lamb, and two-stand eight-hour Merino lamb with Troy Stansbury, NZ.

The fleece weight of the sheep shorn last Saturday was an average 4.3kg - nearly one kilogram heavier than the minimum fleece weight requirement.

The Blacks' motivation for the record attempt was to promote shearing and also provide others with more information on the benefits of diet, exercise and shearing patterns.

Dwayne's record challenge was preceded by years of hard shearing, as well as a special diet and program of exercises, weights and cardio work.

He also surfs for fitness and enjoyment.

World Shearing Records committee members attending Dwayne's attempts are South African Hendrik Botha and New Zealander Stu Weir, Bernie Walker, Victoria, and John Auld and Gary Gilmore, WA.

The Guiness Book of World Records camera crew was also in attendance.



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