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World Sheep Shearing Records Society Inc. [ WSSRS ]

Rules Governing Sheep Shearing Record Attempts

Amended 17th May 2023

Anything in red is a revised regulation, 2023


Any person wishing to attempt a record must apply in writing/email to Hugh McCarroll, Secretary, World Sheep Shearing Records Society, 12 St Thomas Avenue, Pyes Pa, Tauranga 3112, New Zealand, Phone: +64 7 543 1390, Mob: +64 272 606 475, Email: or at least 30 days prior to the record attempt.

All applications must be accompanied by:

  1. The Standard Fees 30 days prior.

  2. Written proof of the shearer's eligibility in a gang attempt (See SHEARERS clause 2.)

  3. A written commitment to provide a Doctor's certificate of fitness dated within seven days before the attempt to the convening record referee on the day prior to the attempt.

  4. Written proof of four month prior crutching date from sheep owner or manager.


  1. Single Stand to be $3,000US     Two Stand to be $4,000US

  2. Multiple Stands $4,000US for the first two stands and $1,000US per stand thereafter up to a maximum of six stands.

  3. All expenses associated with accommodation and meals for official referees to be met by applicant.
(Should the best individual tally in a gang attempt exceed the individual record, it will be recognised. Only two records may be claimed in each event - single stand and the total number of starters).


  1. Any shearer who breaks a record according to the procedure laid down will receive recognition, i.e. Certificate.

  2. If an attempt is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, monies will be refunded, less costs.

  3. If an attempt is postponed due to unforeseen circumstances any extra costs and payment will be decided by the WSSRS executive committee.

  4. The WSSRS Secretary may require a 7- day lapse between attempts. Record attempts should not take place on consecutive days at the same venue.

  5. In the case of failure to attain required quality standards, or failure of the sheep or wool to meet the Specifications, no refunds will be given.

    1. Fifteen minutes after completion of an attempt which receives the approval of all referees, the Convener may announce that a new record has been achieved and present certificate/s.

    2. Any persons with a complaint must personally present their written and signed complaint to the Convening Referee within 10 minutes of the completion of the attempt.

    3. A copy of any written complaint will be made available to the Chairman to research prior to the meeting of the WSSRS which will officially ratify all successful record attempts.

  6. All matters not covered by the rules of the WSSRS and brought to the attention of the officiating referees at a record attempt, will be discussed by the said referees at the time and the Convening Referee will inform organizers of their decision.

  7. The WSSRS reserves the right to display Society sponsor's logos and banners at record attempts.

  8. A Referee must not officiate at record attempts involving immediate Family.


  1. The shearer or shearers are responsible for making sure the wool weight is sufficient.

  2. All members of any gang, (i.e. three stands or more) attempting a record must have worked for the one employer for at least 21 days directly prior to the attempt.

  3. Any shearer may request holding of their sheep to the end of the run for inspection.

  4. All shearers must catch sheep unassisted.

  5. All shearers must switch machine off and on, between each sheep.

  6. During the run no other person may assist in any way with the shearers hand piece or gear.

  7. All shearers must change and oil their own gear during a run.

  8. Blade shearers must sharpen their own blades during a run.

  9. All shearers must put their own sheep out of the porthole. Two per run may miss the porthole. Further sheep missing the porthole must be caught by the shearer or be deducted from the tally.

  10. Only one board wool handler attending a shearer at any one time, and must not assist the shearer.

  11. Any abuse of official rules in an attempt to benefit the shearer wil receive an official warning. A second warning will disqualify the attempt.

  12. Should a shearer be disqualified, only the sheep shorn up to the time of the disqualification can be credited to the tally (disqualified pen not to be included in tally).

  13. The use of suspended back aids will not be allowed.

  14. The use of drugs, drips or oxygen is banned in all record attempts.

  15. At all record attempts a random drug test may be required and if it proved positive the record will be cancelled and the shearer shall pay all the costs.

  16. The applicants are responsible for ensuring that a qualified medical person will be in attendance during the day. In the event of a shearer incurring a blood injury, referees have the right to stop the shearer to repair the wound. Wound to be addressed in shearer’s own time.

  17. Referees have the right to check shearers at any stage during a break.

  18. Multiple stand (gang) record attempts (i.e. 3 stands or more):
    Personal timekeepers will be required to be off the board.
    Air flow devices to be fixed and off the shearing board.
    Shearers must be on consecutive stands.

  19. All air flow devices to be fixed and not hand directed (includes solo and two stand which can be on the board).

  20. The Animal Care Officer to be appointed
    Guidelines for the Care of Sheep and Sheep Shearing Record Attemps available on the WSSRS Website


The WSSRS referees will reject sheep that do not adhere to the following Class's and Class Specifications, including pre-record crutching.

Class's & Specifications

  1. Strongwools

    1. Sheep: No less than 18 months old, average wool weight of no less than 3kgs

    2. Lambs: Average wool weight of no less than 0.9kg.

  2. Crossbred (50% Merino)

    1. Sheep: No less than 18 months old, average wool weight of no less than 3kgs.

    2. Lambs: Average wool weight of no less than 0.9kg.

  3. Merinos (Purebred) Ewes & wethers no less than 18 months old.

    1. Ewes: Average wool weight of no less than 3.4kgs

    2. Wethers: Average wool weight of no less than 4kgs.

    3. Lambs: Average wool weight of no less than 1kg.

  4. Referees will be equipped with accurate scales to be used for the weighing of wool at all attempts.
    Wool weights may be checked during the day of the event.

  5. Sheep must be presented DRY for wool weight the afternoon prior to record attempt.


  1. After the official wool weight has been ratified there will be NO sheep shorn or crutched in the record shed until the commencement of the record attempt.

  2. For the official wool weight every 20th sheep will be drafted off to obtain a minimum of 10 adult sheep or 20 lambs.

  3. If the first wool weight is under the specified weight, a second independent wool weight can be taken before the record mob is resorted. A maximum of four official wool weights can be taken before a record is cancelled. For blade shearing, machines may be used, (if requested) to do the wool weights.

  4. Following confirmation of the wool weight no further sorting or marking of sheep in approved mobs, that may assist the shearer will be permitted.

  5. 90% of the sheep in all classes must have a topknot and no bare bellies allowed

  6. Crutching, i.e. full belly, half belly, pizzle crutching, front sox on merinos, must be done at least four months prior to the attempt. Flanking will not be allowed on any breed/class. (See PROCEDURE clause (d)) Pizzle crutching at template crutching time for blade record attempts only (50mm radius for lambs and 75mm radius for merino wethers).


    1. Within four months prior to the attempt record sheep must not be dagged or ring crutched any larger than the official template crutch.

    2. The dagging or ring crutching is the responsibility of the shearer or shearers, the referees will have the right to dismiss the attempt if it does not measure up to the standard.

    3. On lambs this will be limited to the standard crutching template measuring down from the base of the tail and including the tip of the tail.

    4. On adult sheep, this will be limited to the standard crutching template measuring from the base of the tail and including the tip of the tail.

    5. Standard crutching templates will be provided following applications for the record attempts. The official template crutching can be supervised by two shearing judges appointed by the WSSRS.

    6. A check will be made by the referees prior to the commencement of the record attempt to ensure compliance with crutching standards. The official crutching template is to be placed horizontally as indicated on the template. Crutching must not exceed the appropriate template size. Templates available from secretary, or on website

  7. Approved mobs must be in view of the shed at all times, except in extraordinary circumstances, agreed to by the referees.

  8. The Convening referee may appoint a responsible person to remain in the woolshed or on the property the night prior to the record attempt.

  9. No artificial heating to take place in catching pens.

  10. Because of animal welfare requirements the restriction of air flow by the covering of sheep will not be permitted. No ‘artificial’ or screening walls above top rail height of internal shed pens and no false ceilings. No artificial electric heating underfloor or in walls of pens inside woolshed.

  11. Sheep for a record attempt must be penned at all times throughout the holding area at an acceptable level for air flow.

  12. Heating of sheep to be within animal welfare and health and safety requirements.

  13. Support staff may be removed for misconduct at referee's discretion.


  1. The shed must be standard design operated as in normal conditions. One nominated person go through shed check with Referees the day prior to record attempt, all other personnel to leave the shed. No alterations can be made for a record, except:

    1. Slight re-location of the shearing plant to achieve the optimum relationship between the down tube and the porthole/chute.

    2. The use of a light catching pen door must be hinged as per original door in the shed.

    3. The partitioning of the catching pen size to be determined so that it holds a minimum of 11 adult sheep or 22 lambs standing comfortably with all four feet on the floor, from the particular mob to be used in the attempt. (Partition must be a fixture). No other alterations may be made without the referee's approval. (Rule 4. (c) under SHED still applies).

    4. To arrive at catching pen size, next two lambs after twenty, or one adult sheep after ten drafted for wool weight, to be marked and can be returned to the main mob.

    5. Porthole/chutes floor to be cut no more than 100mm into the shearing board.

  2. During a run, no one will be allowed in the catching pen except the shearer.

  3. Only the authorised shed hands will be allowed to fill the catching pen.

    1. The pen may not be refilled while more than two adult sheep or five lambs remain in it, except at the beginning of a run when the shearer may start with a full pen.

    2. No one must touch or interfere with sheep in the catching pen in any way whatsoever once the gate is latched, without the referee's approval.

    3. At no time is there to be more than 10 adult sheep or 20 lambs in the catching pen. There will be no exceptions.



  1. If a breakdown occurs which prevents 8 hours or 9 hours shearing being completed in the allotted time, the attempt will be cancelled. (Refer to RUNS clause 4.)

  2. Plant breakdowns must be timed by a stopwatch and the time made up at the referee's discretion with the shearer concerned shearing solo.

  3. If a hand piece jams on short dropper, to be timed and allowed for at the referee's discretion.

Handpieces or Blades

  1. No time will be allowed for hand piece breakdowns, but any expert may repair a hand piece for a shearer provided it is returned to him unloaded.

    1. Only two hand pieces may be used during a run.

    2. Only three blades may be used during a run.

    1. Blades to be marked before each run for identification.

    2. If blades gap during shearing they can be repaired, after certification by the referee.

    3. Twisted blades may not be replaced until two attempts have been made to repair them, at the referee's discretion.

    4. If blades break or gap beyond repair they may be replaced during the run at the referee's discretion.

  2. A sheep that is partly shorn when a breakdown occurs may be restarted in the interrupted position.

  3. For blades only, pizzle may be crutched no bigger than 50mm radius for lambs, 75mm radius for merino wethers.


  1. The starting time will be arranged with the record referees on the previous day.

  2. The record referee will have the final decision on whether the sheep are dry and in a fit state for shearing.

  3. All records will be based on either:

    1. Eight hour;
      Four two hour runs with 30 minutes for each smoko and one hour for lunch.

    2. Nine hours;
      A two hour run followed by four one and three quarter hour runs, with one hour breaks for breakfast and lunch and thirty minute breaks for each smoko.

  4. The eight hour day may be worked any time between 6am and 6pm and the nine hour day between 5am and 7pm. In extraordinary circumstances the convening referee may delay the starting time by up to two hours. The only reasons for this can be wet sheep or power failure.

  5. Start time in special or extraordinary circumstances must be decided by the officiating referees as per rule 4. above.


  1. An accurate clock will be used to precisely time the runs which will start and stop on the call of the referee.

  2. The shearer will start with his hand on the closed door and will get the catch if his hand is on the door before the referee calls TIME, provided his last sheep is shorn and the machine is out of gear.


A high standard of quality work will be demanded with penalties being assessed on normal industry standards including crutches and socks.

  1. The sheep will be tallied and a rating established every half hour.

  2. The sheep will be assessed standing except where the referee may require the sheep to be turned up for further inspection.

  3. Any individual sheep at a count out which exceeds a 15 penalty rating for Strong wools, 18 for Crossbreds or 21 for Merinos, will be deducted from that tally before the pen is rated. (As per current rules sheep are judged in a standing position).

    1. If any count out of Strong wool sheep averages over a 12 rating per pen of sheep, the shearer receives a warning which is to be recorded.

    2. If any count out of Crossbred sheep averages over a 15 rating per pen of sheep, the shearer receives a warning which is to be recorded.

    3. If any count out of Merino sheep averages over an 18 rating per pen of sheep, the shearer receives a warning which is to be recorded.

  4. A second warning will cancel the attempt, except in the last half hour when a second warning will mean the 'loss of five sheep' from the tally. (See rule 7. a. & rule 10. under WORKMANSHIP)

  5. The ratings will be recorded and should be included on the certificate recognizing the tally, if the shearer so wishes.

    1. Any sheep with a cut teat, pizzle or serious cut, will be shorn to a quality standard, raddled and deducted from the tally as a reject, (refer 7. (b) under WORKMANSHIP). With this rule only five sheep may be rejected, except in the last half hour when subsequent rejects will mean the loss of five sheep from the tally.

    2. Any sheep with a cut, if stitched and raddled by the shearer to the referee's satisfaction, will be counted and added to the tally. Such stitching must be done by the shearer before any further sheep are shorn, discreetly out of sight of the public.

  6. Any damaged sheep found in the counting out pen unmarked could constitute a warning and this could cancel the attempt.

  7. Tallies and ratings will be made available to the shearers after each count out.

  8. If a shearer's quality rating is over the quality standard in the last half hour count out of the last run, any substandard sheep will be deducted from the tally until the rating is down to the quality rating for the class of sheep. Such sheep deducted under this rule will not be added to the reject count.