High noon in Hunterville
hemozzle! Not just a bit of a shemozzle either, but a fullblown gut-busting, stamina sapping, totally shagging Shepherds Shemozzle – a 3-kilometre up hill and down dale race to test the tenacity and teamwork of dog and master.
The centrepiece of the annual Hunterville Huntaway Festival, the gruelling cross country obstacle course which begins and ends in the main street, attracted 82 competitors and their dogs last year.
On this Saturday from midday in the SH1 rural town (population 400-odd), the festival attracts around 5000 participants and spectators to New Zealand’s huntaway capital.
With the main event underway at 3pm, everyone can get shemozzled together with a family shemozzle event, children’s shemozzle and a teen’s shemozzle. The latter two events capped at 200 and 100 competitors respectively, sold out within hours according to event organiser Clare Claire
Also for kids, there are two magic shows from Captain Jelly and Balloons Funtastic, with Promo King’s Pink Panther slide and bouncy boxing ring, a drafting gate competition for schools, as well as 20 food, craft and gift stalls.
This year introduces new event, the huntaway dog trials.
‘‘The dog trials are for the average Joe farmer and shepherds,’’ Clare says, ‘‘so nothing too technical.’’
As the dust settles, and the day winds down, out come the handpieces for the shearing contractors’ challenge, followed later by music and dancing courtesy of Palmerston North band Six Chairs Missing.
‘‘It’s Hunterville’s biggest day of the calendar year. Bigger than Christmas,’’ Clare says.
Check out shemozzle.co.nz
Winner of the 2014 Shepherds Shemozzle at the Hunterville Huntaway Festival Troy Macdonald emerges from ‘the marsh’ with his dog, Jude.