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Southland woman Megan Whitehead powers her way to shearing world record

From Gore to the top of the world, Southland’s Megan Whitehead is New Zealand’s newest world record holder.

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Megan Whitehead claimed the record for most lambs shorn by a female in nine hours. Source: 1 NEWS

The 24-year-old shearer today claimed the record for most lambs shorn by a female in nine hours.

Whitehead shore 661 lambs, 13 more than the previous record set by Waikato shearer Emily Welch in 2007.

“I don’t believe it really, it’s a dream come true,” she said.

Whitehead got her record attempt underway at 5am this morning, just outside of Gore.

The day was split up in to five stages, with Whitehead off to a flyer shearing 153 lamb in the first two-hour block.

Her dad and fellow shearer Quentin Whitehead watched on nervously, knowing the training his daughter put in to prepare for today’s effort.

“She hasn’t had a drink since July, she’s been on a very strict diet, no sugar. Full days at work and then off to the gym. She’s sweated 10 to 12 hours a day every day since July,” Quentin said.

Whitehead completed each lamb at a rate of under 50 seconds each. A lot quicker than her typical day at work, where she shears roughly 400 lambs in a day.

While there were many friends and family members cheering her on from early morning, there was also several cameras tracking her effort.

Sydney-based judge Mark Baldwin watched on from Australia, with Covid-19 meaning there could be no international travel. Every shearing attempt needed to be completed with at least one international judge.

“It’s a hell of an effort to shear more than 648 sheep. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, what sex you are or anything,” he said from his Sydney office about Whitehead’s attempt.

His job to watch things like how much wool is left on the sheep and whether or not there are any scratches or cuts to the sheep.

His job seemingly an easy one today, with Whitehead powering past the record with eight minutes remaining.

The Southlander no doubt keen to celebrate, as champion of the woolshed.