A King Country shearer has broken the women’s world record for shearing ewes.
Becoming the first female in 40 years to hold both the lamb and ewe titles, and after 9 gruelling hours – Sacha Bond told 1News she had nothing left in the tank.
“I feel pretty exhausted and glad it’s over, to be honest,” she said straight afterwards.
The result scraped just ahead of the previous world record of 452, set in 2018 by Kerri-Jo Te Huia.
“It was a bit touch and go there for a little while,” she said.
Bond had just 9 hours to complete her successful attempt. Kicking off at 5am and shearing right through until 5pm.
Stopping for two one-hour long breaks and two half-hour intervals. She averaged one sheep every 71.1 seconds.
“Sacha has probably lost a kilo or two since this morning,” Bond’s manager, Willy McSkimming, told 1News around five hours into the event.
With each ewe weighing between 60 to 70 kilograms, much of it wool, McSkimming says fine-tuning Bond’s diet, training and endurance challenges played a key part.
“She’d be sitting around 56 kilos now, I’d say, and these ewes are pretty strong,” he said.
In December, Bond set a new nine-hour women’s world record for lamb shearing – shearing 720 lambs. Beating the previous record held by Megan Whitehead at 661.
“It’s been a bit of a special one this year because we obviously did the lamb record last year, so she has been going back to back.”
One colleague of Bond’s from Pio Pio in the Waitomo District told 1News it was a special event to be a part of.
“It’s just cool to be a part of something so beautiful,” wool handler Stormy McKenzie said.
Even those helping accommodate the event 15 minutes South of Mossburn were proud to be involved.
“Watching a good shearer is like watching a good machine. It doesn’t just happen. A lot of it’s in the head,” Centre Hill Pāmu Station farm manager Robin Dean told 1News.
“I have a great deal of respect for shearers, probably one of the last truly physical jobs left in New Zealand,” he said.
He said the idea and planning for the event started back in March. In June, Dean then had to sort out around 2000 ewes deemed suitable for a record standard.
“Sheep for the event are not allowed to be touched 4 months before the record.”
“There’s quite a few criteria that have to go with it. There has to be a certain amount of wool on the top knot, which is the middle piece of the head, between the head and the ears,” he says.
“They have to have a minimum weight of 3 kilograms of wool. The size of the sheep is irrelevant. That doesn’t count. It’s the wool weight that matters.”
The 30-year-old Mother of one said it was all a mental game.
“I just feel like if you have goals set for yourself, then you know it is a good thing to work towards, and you can better yourself in every type of way. Physically, mentally, and personally,” she said.
“I just want to go and have a shower and relax, I think.”