Valiant Te Huia misses out

By Doug Laing


Shearing

Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia overcame the disappointment of failing in a world record bid on Tuesday by shearing the last hour and three-quarters for his supporters and posting a new personal best of 703 ewes in nine hours.

The record bid officially ended in a packed and hot Te Hape woolshed, just east of Benneydale, when judges called time just after 2.45pm, at the end of the fourth run, with a tally of 566 ewes shorn.

That left an unlikely 156 still needed in the last hour and three-quarters to break the record of 721 set by Southern Hawke's Bay shearer Rodney Sutton six years ago.

Needing an average of an unprecedented 146 in each of the two afternoon runs, Te Huia dropped further off the pace, and by afternoon smoko, when the judges retired, he had run-tallies of 149 for the first run of two hours, and 141, 140 and 136 for the next three of one hour 45 minutes each.

With a previous best nine-hour tally of 674, Te Huia spoke briefly and emotionally to thank the judges, a team of more than 30 helpers, and the sponsors and the crowd, and after a short break resumed at 3.13pm, shore through unjudged to the end at 5pm and finished with 703 for the day.

Only four others have shorn more than 700 ewes in nine-hour record attempts, the first in 1994 being also 703, by King Country legend David Fagan, who was among those guiding yesterday's record attempt.

Te Huia, 33, had a difficult opening run, with cold sheep, locking gear, and later "feisty" sheep, and he said: "It shows why it's the hardest record to break."

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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