Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Canadian knocks off world record

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Canadian shearer Pauline Bolay has become the first woman from the northern hemisphere to attempt a world shearing record.
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The 33-year-old battled 20C-plus heat to attempt the world record in the same woolshed at Whitford Farms in the Waikaretu Valley that Emily Welch broke the nine-hour record of 648 lambs in 2007.

With less than three minutes to go Bolay passed the existing eight-year-old women’s solo eight-hours strong wool record of 507 lambs set by Kerri-Jo Te Huia.

She finished the attempt with 510 Coopworth lambs. 

Bolay started at 7am on Saturday and finished at 5pm, with the four two-hour runs separated by 30-minute breaks for morning and afternoon tea and an hour for lunch.  

She had to average less than 56.7 seconds a lamb or at least 63.5 lambs an hour, caught, shorn and dispatched.

Bolay wasn’t daunted by the target being 25% more than she’d ever done before. 

“It was a big number to get to, for sure but it was do-able,” she said.

“It was one sheep at a time, all day.”

She arrived in the country just six weeks ago for the New Zealand summer but her preparation for the record attempt started six months ago.

“Everything I’ve done for the last six months has been to break this record,” she said.

She started her career 12 years ago on her family farm in Canada and sheared all over the world.

Bolay has also had success in competitions this year winning the ladies final at the world championships in Britain representing Canada and also became the first woman to win the Calgary Stampede’s North American championship in Canada.

Two other world record bids are expected in NZ this summer with Stacey Te Huia to attempt a Merino wethers record near Ranfurly in Central Otago on January 4 and four women will attempt a rare women’s multi-stand record bid at Waihi-Pukawa, near Turangi in the central North Island on January 23.

Bolay now intends to improve her daily tallies at work before she returns to Canada at the end of January but is most likely to return for the Golden Shears in Masterton on March 4-7.

Bolay had huge support, in particular from employers and record-bid managers Emily and Sam Welch, both also record-holders. Just days after arriving in NZ Bolay watched Emily Welch set the nine-hour record.

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