Josh Clayton falls short of merino ewe shearing world record

SO CLOSE: Shearer Josh Clayton, originally from Burraga, was just 14 short of a world record shearing attempt at Oxton Park, near Harden, on Saturday.

SO CLOSE: Shearer Josh Clayton, originally from Burraga, was just 14 short of a world record shearing attempt at Oxton Park, near Harden, on Saturday.

A FORMER Burraga boy's attempt to break the solo eight-hour merino ewe shearing world record last Saturday fell short by just 14.

The record attempt was made by Josh Clayton, who is originally from Burraga and went to school in Oberon but now lives in the Young district.

According to spectators, Mr Clayton would have been close to surpassing the world record of 466 - set by New Zealander Cartwright Terry in 2003 - had he not had to sew one of the sheep after having clipped it.

Eleven months of training for a close slip must feel torturous, but there was an important cause behind the attempt.

Mr Clayton had to shear a normal day between the hours of 7.30am and 5.30pm in an attempt to break Mr Terry's record.

A shearer's day is split into four two-hour runs, with two half-hour breaks, for morning tea and afternoon tea, and one hour for lunch between noon and 1pm.

Mr Clayton's word record attempt raised a significant amount of money which will go directly into raising awareness for Motor Neurone Disease.

Raising awareness of and donations for Motor Neurone Disease has been on Mr Clayton's priority list (sitting just below his little girl Stella, who always comes first to the determined father, and just above his love for shearing) since he lost his partner Hayley Anderson to the disease back in 2016.

Obviously, years have gone into building yourself up to even have an opportunity.

Mr Clayton said preparing for the event had been testing for him, as it would be for anyone attempting to break a world record.

Shearing is physically demanding on an extreme level just as a job, let alone as a sport where you are shearing merinos as opposed to your everyday sheep.

"I've done 11 months of training. Obviously, years have gone into building yourself up to even have an opportunity, and once you find the amount of sheep, which is one of the hardest things, then you can put the rest in motion," he said.

"They're huge. It's not an easy task."

Fitness was an important factor in attempting to better the world record mark.

Mr Clayton said he had to work hard on his fitness and physique over the long preparation, as well as going through intense training.

He said his target was to shear one sheep per minute, which included gear changes, a quick drink and "catching and dragging" the next ewe.

He thanked John and Paul O'Connor for supplying the number of sheep he needed and the venue.

The record of 466 merino ewes in eight hours was set by Cartwright Terry as part of a two-stand record of 924 set with his brother Michael James Terry south of Perth in Western Australia in February 2003.

Mr Clayton's bid to break the world record of 466 was the fourth unsuccessful attempt since 2003.