Placings stun Timaru teen
Timaru’s Neve O’Connor thought her ears had deceived her when the emcee at the Southern Alps Country Music Awards read out the intermediate runner up.
‘‘He was reading out the intermediate runner up category,’’ Neve said.
‘‘He goes ‘Steve Connor’. I was like ‘well done’. Then I was like ‘who’s Steve?’.
‘‘Everyone turns around and looks at me and I’m like ‘oh my gosh, I’m Steve’.’’
The 16-year-old Roncalli College student said was excited and surprised to to win the award; ‘‘it was insane’’.
‘‘I was the only local winner of the overalls,’’ she said.
During the weekend-long competition, she won the Intermediate Country Rock and the Intermediate Novice sections, was runner up for Intermediate overall, and was very highly commended on her Intermediate Solo.
It was her second time in the event after previously competing in 2016.
There were about 15 to 20 people competing in the Intermediate category, and she entered in three of the six or seven sections on offer.
She definitely planned on entering again next year.
‘‘I like doing it. You make such good friends from it, life long friends, and they’re always there for you. It’s great because they’re usually not from Timaru, but Dunedin, Ashburton, Gore, all around.’’
Mum, Lauren O’Connor, said she believed all of Neve’s hard work practising had paid off.
Judges had a tough job picking the winners, awards convenor Andrew Nelson said.
‘‘A lot of people said it was the most evenly talented [competition], everybody was on the same level,’’ he said.
‘‘It was very good, a very high standard.’’
Arianne Baker, of Nelson, took out the top award Senior Overall Winner, with a prize of $1000 and a guitar package.
‘‘It was just the overall performance, she was in just about every section she was eligible for.’’
Baker had entered the competition numerous times, and was excited to have won, Nelson said. Baker and Chris Whitnell, of Nelson, took out the runner up overall as a duo.
Campbell Landrebe, of Dunedin, won the Intermediate overall, while his younger sister Alyssa Landrebe won the Junior Overall section.
Attendance and entrant numbers were down a little bit on previous years, which Nelson attributed to there being a number of events on simultaneously in, and near, Timaru.
Neve O’Connor, 16, was placed runner up for the Intermediate section.