Seeking any gallant rural gents
Are you a gallant rural gent who is more at home behind the wheel of a tractor than in the back seat of an UBER?
Then you might just have what it takes to be the New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays’ Rural Bachelor of the Year.
Eight finalists will be selected for the popular competition, which takes place during Fieldays at Mystery Creek Events Centre from June 14 to 17.
The Rural Bachelor competition is now in its seventh year and entries close at the end of March.
Finalists have their farming skills, attitude and all-round charisma put to the test during a series of rural themed challenges, including fencing, cooking, wood splitting, dog handling and health and safety.
The winner walks away with a prize pack worth more than $20,000 along with the coveted Golden Gumboot trophy.
Last year’s Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year, Paul Olsen, said he entered because his mates encouraged him and he had ‘‘nothing to lose’’.
‘‘It's a brilliant experience. It really pushes you out of your comfort zone, but in a good way.’’
The potato and dry stock farmer from Opiki in Manawatu said the week was full on, exciting and filled with opportunities.
‘‘The socialising and networking opportunities are huge.
‘‘I met a great bunch of blokes, and ladies, and we still keep in touch,’’ said Olsen. Olsen said he’s ready to hand over the title. ‘‘My advice for this year’s guys is to give it a go, it’s a brilliant experience. It really pushes you out of your comfort zone, but in a good way.’’ He’s also technically not a bachelor anymore. ‘‘Yep, I was fortunate enough to meet someone,’’ said Olsen.
‘‘She’s in the rural industry too – she’s pretty awesome.’’
This year’s competition kicks off on Monday, June 12, with the Farmlands Road Trip. Starting in Auckland, the eight finalists will make their way across Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, visiting rural Farmlands stores on the way and taking part in activities and challenges.
Once Fieldays officially starts on Wednesday, June 14, the finalists will take part in daily challenges with the winner announced at the official prize giving on Saturday, June 17. Two titles are up for grabs again – Rural Bachelor of the Year and People’s Choice Award.
Fiona Tunnicliffe of Putaruru creates pottery sculptures of horses and other animals.