Women make clean sweep of all three Fiel­d­ays awards

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE - LIBBY WIL­SON

HER friends said she should ei­ther en­ter Mar­ried at First Sight or Fiel­d­ays Ru­ral Catch – Mairi Whit­tle chose the lat­ter, and she won it.

Whit­tle, a former ru­ral bank man­ager who now works as a shep­herd on a 1100-hectare beef and sheep farm east of Tai­hape, hoisted the Golden Gum­boot tro­phy at Fiel­d­ays at Mys­tery Creek yes­ter­day.

This was the first year that women were in­cluded in the com­pe­ti­tion for­merly known as Ru­ral Bach­e­lor of the Year – and they took out all the prizes.

It was amaz­ing, ac­cord­ing to Whit­tle, a former ru­ral bank man­ager who now works as a shep­herd on a 1100-hectare beef and sheep farm east of Tai­hape.

Meet­ing the ‘‘bunch of ab­so­lute cham­pi­ons’’ – her eight fel­low com­peti­tors who un­der­went the gru­elling week of com­pe­ti­tions in­volv­ing quad bikes, chain­saws, ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion, fi­nances, and cook­ing – was a high­light, she said.

The Peo­ple’s Choice award went to hunter, horse woman and trainee pilot Lilly New­ton of Urenui, Taranaki, who said she prob­a­bly hadn’t been ‘‘caught’’ by Taranaki blokes yet be­cause she had very high spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

Palmer­ston North’s Re­nae Flett rounded out the all-fe­male sweep with the Farm­lands Choice Award.

Tai­hape’s Mairi Whit­tle won Fiel­d­ays Ru­ral Catch – for­merly known as the Ru­ral Bach­e­lor of the Year.

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