Shear resourcefulness

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World-first... Grass roots IT owner John Rountree is one of a team who has been helping shearer Megan Whitehead and father Quentin develop a plan to livestream Miss WhiteheadÂ’s solo strong wool shearing world record attempt so an international judge can verify the attempt. The attempt is planned for January next year. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

A “world-first” solution has been developed in Gore to deal with a problem created by Covid-19 record shearing attempts when no international judges are allowed to travel here.

Farmer Quentin Whitehead,daughter Megan and Grassroots IT owner John Rountree, all of Gore, and Invercargill-based Big Screen Advertising videographer Bryan Campbell , have worked together to develop a plan to livestream Miss Whitehead’s solo strong wool shearing record attempt next January.

Miss Whitehead aims to break Emily Welch’s record of 648, set in 2007.

Earlier this year, the 24-year-old was part of a four-woman team that set the world shearing record of 2066 lambs in nine hours.

Mr Whitehead said he put in an application in February to the World Sheep Shearing Record Society, which is the governing body for shearing records.

“Then Covid hit, so all world records were off because without an international judge they wouldn’t go ahead with records,” Mr Whitehead said.

One international judge is required to officiate at every record attempt, no matter where it is in the world.

There are about 20 judges in the world who can officiate at events.

Mr Whitehead contacted the society and asked if it was possible for a judge to officiate at a world record attempt by video link and they were open to the possibility.

“I was right out of my depth so I panicked and rang John.”

Mr Rountree said when he heard what the Whiteheads wanted to do, he was sure it could be done.

“I just had to find the people and the technology to do it it’s not a big deal because it is out there,” he said.

There were several obstacles to overcome, including how to connect with the internet and how to livestream the event in high resolution.

Yrless Plus owner Joe Stringer was able to help with the internet connection and Mr Campbell with the videoing.

What he had developed was a “template” that others could use.

“It’s a world-first for the whole sheep shearing record attempts.”

The system had been tested twice and worked.

The videographers had to be trained how to video the live event which was nothing like filming a wedding or funeral or a concert, he said.

“We’re talking rural; strange light conditions that are not controllable necessarily and animals that don’t stand still and smile at you.

“We also have to make sure the judges at the other end are comfortable with what they’re seeing on the live streaming is good enough for them to judge accordingly.”

On the day there will be four New Zealand judges and one international watching via the internet feed.

Miss Whitehead said initially it had been disappointing when it looked as if her world record attempt could not go ahead.

“I carried on training and I just believed it would go ahead and hoped for the best,” she said.

She was now focusing on her fitness.