Britain’s shearing talent to shine at The Royal Bath & West Show
30th April 2023
A host of professional shearing talent will be racing against time at the Royal Bath & West Show this year, including world record holder shearer Jon Roberts from Robertsacre Farm in Dartmoor.
Together with shearing partner Martin Howlett, Mr Roberts holds the two-stand, eight-hour strong wool ewe world record, having sheared an impressive 1,075 ewes, beating the previous record of 1,069.
“I was inspired to take on a record after seeing Matt Smith smash the nine-hour strong wool world record in 2016,” he explained. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I wanted to see how far I could push my body and my mind. And I’m a better shearer for it, my pattern and style have definitely improved as a result.”
Mr Roberts shears around 20,000 sheep a year for UK clients, and has recently returned from working on the Falkland Islands across several farms with numbers in excess of 50,000 sheep. He also operates a regenerative farming enterprise on Dartmoor with his wife Sophie and two young children Isla and Sky – who love getting muddy on the farm.
The family currently run a flock of Perendale ewes and a small suckler herd on a rotational grazing system. In addition, the farm is developing a crossbred Merino ewe to enhance wool quality and add value to the product, while lambs and cattle fattened for meat are sold locally in meat boxes with provenance and quality at the heart of the brand.
“As a business we’re interested in delivering high quality product, both in terms of wool and meat, that adds margin and is sold locally to customers with whom we can develop a relationship,” Mr Roberts said. “We like to know where our produce is going, and the people it is going to. That’s important to us.”
With The Royal Bath & West Show drawing closer, he is looking forward to an enjoyable couple of days of competition at the event, which is a firm favourite on the competitive shearing circuit.
Far from a newcomer at the show, Mr Roberts has been competing at the prestigious event since 2008. He spoke of a great atmosphere and sense of community felt by visitors and competitors alike:
“While we’re all trying to beat each other, once the handpiece is put down, we’re mates, and I find it important mentally to spend social time with other shearers who are doing the hard graft of day-to-day shearing – it’s a community.”
The Royal Bath & West Show will take place on 1-3 June 2023 at The Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN. Competitive shearing is scheduled for 2nd and 3rd June, with classes from Juniors to Blade Novice, to the prestigious Open and the English National. Cash prizes of up to £275 are on offer for placed competitors.