BUNBURY shearer Lou Brown this month will get a crack at the world eight-hour solo Merino ewe shearing record that has stood for 16 years, after an attempt in New South Wales failed at the weekend.
In a demonstration of sportsmanship and the camaraderie of the shearing industry, the shearer who set the solo record of 466 ewes in eight hours in February 2003, Cartwright Terry, is helping Mr Brown, a single father raising a son, 12 and daughter, 8, prepare to tackle his record on Saturday, April 27.
To break the record Mr Brown will have to maintain an average pace of close to knocking out a Merino ewe a minute for an eight-hour session, split into four intense two-hour runs.
The world record attempt will take place in the woolshed at the Hope family's Rockliffe Grazing property in Samson Road, Kojonup and will be open to the public.
It is being organised by Mr Terry, a shearing consultant for Australian Wool Innovation and his brother Michael James Terry, a Katanning shearing contractor who runs MJ Shearing and employs Mr Brown.
The New Zealand-born Terry brothers set a two-stand world record of 924 ewes shorn in eight hours in 2003 in the shearing shed at Rob Rex's Westindale property, near Katanning.
The ewes cut an average of 4.8 kilograms of wool, with Michael James, then 33, shearing a total of 458 and Cartwright, then 29, claiming the world solo Merino ewe record with a tally of 466.
Both world records still stand.
Mr Brown, 31, who was born in Napier on New Zealand's north island but came to Australia with his family when he was 13, said on Monday it was an "honour" to have shearers of the calibre of the Terry brothers helping him prepare.
The three flew to NSW for the weekend to watch Josh 'Wah' Clayton's valiant and emotional attempt on Saturday to break the solo eight-hour world record, which he dedicated to his partner Hayley, who died from Motor Neurone Disease 17 months ago.
In appalling freezing conditions, which included a hail storm in the last run with hail blowing in under the ridge capping of the shed roof at Oxten Park, Harden and roustabouts having to towel the board dry to stop Mr Clayton slipping, his tally came up 14 short of the record.
Because of the weather the sheep had been penned for days before the attempt and had "hollowed out" and were "stiff" with cold, according to other WA shearers, like Todd Wegner whose son Rocky was involved in the record attempt as a Heiniger shearing gear representative, who flew over to help and watch.
Mr Brown said the NSW attempt showed how a large element of "good luck" was needed, over the top of skill, stamina and planning, to break the record.
"Hopefully we won't have that (rain, hail and freezing conditions) when we try," Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said he did not believe shearing speed would be a problem if the sheep and wool were "right" on the day.
He competes successfully on the local sports shearing circuit and treats a normal working day in the shearing shed "as a competition".
Mr Brown has been shearing since he was 17, having started with Michael James Terry in 2006.
"I did my first 400 (sheep shorn in a day) when I was still only 17," he said.
Unlike some other shearers who go to New Zealand to shear once the Australian spring and autumn shearing seasons are finished, Mr Brown said he preferred to stay in Bunbury and spend as much time with his children as he can.
Michael James Terry said Mr Brown would be shearing two-year-old ewes that have had one lamb and were last shorn in April and May last year.
They are expected to cut between 3.5 and 4kg per head during the record attempt, Mr Terry said.
World Sheep Shearing Records Society rules require a minimum cut of 3.4kg for valid record attempts.
The last attempt in WA on the eight-hour solo ewe shearing record was by Kukerin shearer Beau Guelfi, who has been based in New Zealand for 15 years, in February 2016.
It took place in Carl Moltoni's Scenic Park shearing shed, Yathroo, but was thwarted by "sticky" belly wool and a steamy 40 degrees Celsius temperature inside the shed.
Mr Guelfi abandoned the attempt half way through the third run when it was clear he had fallen behind the required pace and had no chance of catching back up.
When he set the record Cartwright Terry shore 114 ewes in his first run, 119 in the second, 118 in the third and 115 in his final run.