Suzy the feral sheep, after being shorn by shearer Peter Casserly, right, with Amie Ritchie, left, and Carla Clark, who captured the ewe. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON
A haircut that took eight minutes and 16 seconds resulted in 14.68kg of long, mud-matted fleece covering the stage and a feral sheep named Suzy looking better than ever and most certainly, lighter.
Sunday was the first time the crossbred ewe, thought to be four or five-years-old, had ever been shorn.
Doing the honours at the Wool Shed in Masterton, despite an ill-timed nosebleed, was shearing world record holder Peter Casserly.
Casserly gently took Suzy’s wool off with a pair of blade shears and a handsome 550mm lock was set aside to establish a record for the longest staple of wool ever shorn from a sheep for the Guinness Book of Records.
Casserly, 70, from Omarama, South Canterbury, is well known for shearing Shrek, the famous merino sheep discovered in 2004 at Bendigo Station in Central Otago.
“Suzy wasn’t too bad,” he said. “It was only half the work of Shrek, who had wrinkles and twice the amount of wool.
“But Shrek’s fleece wasn’t as long as Suzy’s which was the longest length of wool I’ve ever cut off.”
For Casserly, it was a pleasure to be in Masterton, the home of shearing history.
He thought Suzy, a romney-perendale cross, would adapt well to her new trim.
Suzy was captured on a remote bluff in the Mapiu district, south of Te Kuiti, by Amie Ritchie and Carla Clark.
The women travelled down to Wairarapa with Suzy for yesterday’s event which attracted a crowd of about 100 people from a wide range of ages, all eager to glimpse the extremely woolly ewe.
Ritchie and Clark caught the ewe after a chase lasting several hundred metres over rugged terrain.
The MC for yesterday’s display was Greg Herrick, former Golden Shears president and chairman of the Golden Shears World Council.
He was impressed with the ewe’s “calm” manner, saying many sheep get “quite flighty” as a rule while being shorn.
“Suzy’s never been docked, obviously, because she’s managed to elude all the musterers and farmers over the years.”
He said blade shearing “was a very unique skill”, predominately done in the South Island.
Casserly’s world record was set in 1976 when he blade-sheared 353 sheep. This record still stands.
He said there once was about 200 blade shearers in New Zealand, now there were just 20.