WA shearer breaks world record, fulfils childhood dream
WA shearer Lou Brown fulfilled a childhood dream when he set a new world record on Saturday by shearing 497 Merino ewes in eight hours — just over one sheep per minute.
Brown broke the previous record of 466 ewes with half an hour to spare inside a packed shed in Kojonup, but gritted his teeth and pushed on to shear another 30 before time was up.
The 31-year-old Bunbury man celebrated the record with a hard-earned swig of beer and an embrace with his mentor — previous world record holder Cartwright Terry.
“I shore my first sheep ever on his stand,” Brown said.
“I had my birthday in his shed, took a photo of (Terry) shearing and he signed it. I slept with it next to my bed for years.”
An emotional — and sore — Brown then watched on as his friend Daniel Tawhitapou peformed a haka to give him strength.
“I’ve been shearing for 17 years. That’s how long I’ve been dreaming of it for,” Brown said.
“It’s been a long time. Just to give it your everything and come away with a win, it’s just an unreal feeling.
“We’ve always talked about it. We’ve always wanted to give it a crack.
“Dad’s always drummed it into me since I was a little kid so to fulfil that is emotional.”
Brown was born in Napier but moved to Australian in his youth.
He spent four months training to break Terry’s 2003 world record, but he said his mental approach was more important than anything he could have done to prepare physically.
“You have to want it. It doesn’t matter how hard you train or whatever, you have to want it,” he said.
His pace barely faltered, with the crowd chanting and cheering him on in the final minutes.
The judges, who had travelled from interstate and New Zealand to witness the attempt, praised his “outstanding” shearing quality from start to finish.
Terry said he was honoured that Brown had broken his record.
“He’s earned his place in the record books,” he said.
“People talk about it but they seldom do it.”
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