Tackling the biggest job of your life might not be the best time to talk about failures.
But that's not the way for Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia who tomorrow tackles possibly the greatest shearing record of them all, hoping to shear more than 721 strongwool ewes in nine hours in a remote a King Country woolshed.
The record has not been tried by any other shearer in the six years since it was set by Southern Hawke's Bay shearing ironman Rodney Sutton.
Tomorrow's bid will be near Benneydale and will start at 5am and end at 5pm, including meal and smoko breaks.
Te Huia, 33, has figured in three successful record bids over the last 14 years, but says it is the one failure, an attempt on the solo record for eight hours in 2010, that stands him in greatest stead for the goal of which he's been dreaming almost as long as he's been in the woolsheds.
"That failure was a huge learning curve," Te Huia said during one break from a rigorous schedule, which in addition to daily shearing on both sides of the Tasman has included hundreds of kilometres of running and swimming, other body work, and strict dieting.
It was in 1999 that the family name first appeared in the books of the World Sheep Shearing Records society, where a 20-year-old Stacey and older brother Hayden set a two-stand eight-hour record of 986.
In January 2010, Te Huia fell just short of Hawke's Bay shearer Matthew Smith's new solo eight-hour record of 578, but nailed it with a new mark of 603 the following December, and in January last year he and long-time shearing mate Sam Welch, of Waikaretu, set a two-stand nine-hour record of 1341, of which Te Huia shore 674.
Sutton shore 727 sheep (six rejected for quality), and made his record-breaking catch just seconds from the bell.