Rowland Smith and family.

Rowland Smith shearing.

Rowland Set To Challenge Shearing World Record

British Wool is getting behind 30 year old Rowland Smith as he prepares to take on the ‘Eight Hour Ewe World Shearing Record’ next month. Rowland’s record attempt will take place at Trefranck Farm, St Clether in Cornwall, on Monday 24th July.

Whilst world record attempts are never guaranteed to be successful, a track record like Rowland’s certainly stands him in good stead.  Set in February this year, the current world record for the ‘Eight Hour Ewe World Shearing Record’ is held by Leon Samuels from South Island New Zealand when he sheared 605 ewes in eight hours.  To beat this, Rowland will have to shear each sheep in less than 47 seconds.  Highlighting just how difficult this task is, prior to Leon’s attempt, this record had not been beaten since 2010.

Speaking in advance, Alan Marshall, British Wool’s south west board member, commented:  “We are delighted to welcome Rowland to the UK and to support him in his world record attempt next month.  Shearing is vital to the sheep industry and events like this really help to promote shearing as a sport, and showcase British wool to a wider audience.

“On behalf of everyone at British Wool I would like to wish Rowland the very best of luck in what will be an extremely demanding challenge.”

Shearing is in Rowland’s DNA.  He was taught to shear by his father and two older brothers at the age of 12 and began shearing competitively aged 13.  He left school at 16 to embark on a career in agriculture on his home farm, simply fitting in shearing whenever the opportunity arose.  Rowland progressed very quickly through the competitive shearing grades, winning the junior title at the Golden Shears when he was only 17.  The following year, he came fourth in the intermediate competition, and the year after won the senior title.

For a number of years he travelled the world, following the shearing season to various countries including Finland, Estonia and the USA. Today he is firmly settled in Hawkes Bay, on the North Island of New Zealand, with his wife and two – soon to be three – children.  He works for a local contractor, Heath Kingston, and also on the family’s own 70 acre property when time allows.

Inspired by his older brother Matt Smith’s world record last year, Rowland felt unable to turn down the opportunity to have a go at setting a world record himself:  “After helping my brother, Matt, during his world record, and being given the opportunity to utilise the same sheep and facilities, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.  The support from the British farmers and organisations like British Wool, has been completely overwhelming and I cannot thank them enough.”

As with Matt Smith’s world record attempt last year, nothing is left to chance and as such Rowland will be assisted by a British support team.  The group of volunteers will take responsibility for handling ewes, wrapping wool and coordinating the entire day so that Rowland has the best chance of success.  

Throughout his competitive shearing career, Rowland has accumulated an impressive collection of titles.  His four major achievements to date include; four times Golden Shears Open Shearing winner, five times New Zealand Shearing Championships Open Shearing winner, former World Machine Shearing Champion, former two-stand eight hour world shearing record holder (alongside his brother Doug), Master Shearer, and most recently, the 2017 New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year.

A world record attempt on this scale is without a doubt no mean feat.  It is important that Rowland properly prepares for the challenge and prior to the event he will also compete at Lochearnhead, Lakeland and the Great Yorkshire Show.

Lauren Boulton, acting producer communications manager at British Wool, said:  “We’re delighted to be supporting Rowland as he prepares to take on this almighty challenge next month.  Rowland is an inspiration to all young shearers working their way up through the grades, and proof that hard work pays dividends.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Rowland and his brother Matt in the future; they are both such fantastic ambassadors for the wool industry as a whole and their knowledge and experience will be invaluable to any shearer looking to improve their skills.”

Rowland is keen to encourage the next generation of shearers and acknowledges that the shearing training provided by British Wool is an excellent opportunity for anyone with an interest in shearing to learn from highly skilled and passionate trainers.  With shearing courses running from May through to July, approximately 1,000 people attend each year to learn from instructors with 20-25 years’ experience, and gain ‘Seal’ accredited awards.

“I must say a huge thank you to British Wool for their invaluable support in this world record attempt,” says Rowland.  “I would strongly advise any young shearer, or anyone wishing to brush up on their skills, to attend their shearing training.”

As the agricultural industry faces uncertain times ahead, the camaraderie between British producers is uplifting.  Events such as Rowland’s world record attempt are an excellent platform not only to raise the profile of shearing as a vital industry skill, but also the high quality of British wool to a global audience.


Notes to editors:


Rowland Smith and family

Rowland Smith Shearing


For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact either:

Lauren Boulton, British Wool’s Acting Producer Communications Manager - 07970 476300 or  laurenboulton@britishwool.org.uk or

Diane Keating on 01274 688666 or dianekeating@britishwool.org.uk

Issued by agpo@britishwool.org.uk 

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