After shearing his final lamb at 5pm yesterday, Ivan Scott sat back, cracked open a beer, and took his first sip as the freshly-crowned world record holder.
The New Zealand-based Irish shearing champion bettered the world eight-hour solo lamb shearing record of 742 that Cam Ferguson set in a King Country woolshed on January 10 last year.
The scene was Opepe Station, a touch southeast of Taupo, on State Highway 5.
The 30-year-old was given the all-clear after a trial shear comfortably exceeded the minimum 0.9kg of wool per lamb.
Scott, who previously held the record at 736 shorn in December 2008, faced four, two-hour runs, with two half-hour smoke breaks and an hour for lunch.
The shearing rate was rapid – one lamb every 38.8 seconds or quicker to beat Ferguson's count. Three Kiwi judges and one from Australia were on hand to ensure each lamb was shorn to standard.
Judge John Fagan said Scott looked "very fit" as he stepped into the pen.
"He was very well prepared which you have to be with this sort of effort. It has been measured years ago as the equivalent of two back-to-back marathons."
Five of Scott's lambs weren't up to standard and were discounted, yet he still pipped the record.
"He took it down to the wire – he did it the hard way."
Scott came to New Zealand 10 years ago from the Irish county of Donegal and has been shearing fulltime since then, mostly near Christchurch.
For the past four years he's also been shearing the summer season in Rotorua.
Scott said yesterday morning leading up to that first cut was "tense" and the pressure didn't let up.
Only after his final strike, when the crowd erupted, did it ease. "She was a pretty big moment," he said last night. "It was pretty emotional.
"The old body feels pretty good. The arms are a bit sore, but it feels good considering." Scott celebrated his win with a couple of pints and a meal in Taupo.
Two more record attempts are coming up this month.
Today, 29-year-old Kerry-Jo Te Huia, of Te Kuiti, attempts the women's eight-hour lambs record of 470 and on January 18 brother Stacey Te Huia, 33, will attempt a two-stand ewes record for nine hours with Waikato shearer Sam Welch. Te Huia and Welch will be targeting a record of 1335 set 16 years ago by Southland shearers Darin Forde (688) and Wayne Ingram (647).
A BUSY DAY
749 lambs shorn over eight hours
Five not up to standard
Previous record, 742, set last January
Shearing rate per lamb: one every 38.8 seconds
Energy equivalent: two back-to-back marathons
Four two-hour runs, two 30-minute breaks and an hour for lunch