High noon in Hun­ter­ville

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY INFORMATION | WHAT’S ON -

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

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ

Win­ner of the 2014 Shep­herds She­moz­zle at the Hun­ter­ville Hunt­away Fes­ti­val Troy Macdonald emerges from ‘the marsh’ with his dog, Jude.

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