A Manitoba woman beat the world record for lamb shearing this weekend, becoming the first North American woman to ever hold the honour.
Pauline Bolay, 33, of Fairford, Man., sheared 510 lambs in eight hours on Saturday in Waikaretu, New Zealand, beating out the previous record of 507 and smashing her own personal best of 412.
"I was pretty emotional, because it was a dream come true," said Bolay, reached by phone in New Zealand. "So many people were cheering me on and supporting me. It was just like, we had done it."
Bolay, who grew up on a lamb feedlot in Westlock, Alta., said she's loved shearing since childhood. In July, she became the first woman to win the Calgary Stampede North American Sheep Shearing Championship.
She's been travelling to New Zealand for the past 12 years to perfect the art, including working for two world-record holders in that country. Both of them were with her on Saturday cheering her on.
"You're working with other shearers all day, so you're learning from each other all day," she said. "It's just a matter of asking questions and improving every day."
Bolay had been planning this world-record attempt for roughly seven months. To beat it, she had to wrangle each lamb from a pen, shear it all over and move on in under 56 seconds.
Doug Laing, a spokesperson for Shearing Sports New Zealand, said in an email the success makes Bolay the first woman from the Northern Hemisphere to hold the world record.
"I just love working and the challenge of improving every day," Bolay said. "You can always shear a sheep faster. You can always shear a sheep cleaner. There's always something you can do better, so it's never boring."
Bolay said she credits her success to her coach and support team. Now she's got the title, she said she plans to keep working on getting even better.
"I'm just going to soak up this one for a bit," she said. "Try to do some good tallies in the shed, day in and day out, and we'll go from there."