Ploughing comp heads south

The Invercargill Eye - - YOUR HEALTH - RE­BECCA MOORE

He grew up ploughing, and will be the old­est com­peti­tor at the New Zealand Ploughing Cham­pi­onships next month.

And, Tom Fowler, 83, says he has no plans of slow­ing down when it comes to com­pet­i­tive ploughing.

‘‘I’ll keep go­ing as long as I can I think.’’

Fowler grew up in a farm­ing fam­ily af­ter his an­ces­tors moved to New Zealand from Scot­land in 1857. His dad’s un­cle, John Fowler, set up his foundry – Fowlers Agri­cul­tural and Im­ple­ment Works – in 1862 to make farm­ing equip­ment.

For the past 10 years, Fowler has been the first of his fam­ily to be a com­pet­i­tive plough­man, and does so with a vin­tage Fowler plough built by his an­ces­tors in Mos­giel. The year of the ma­chine is un­known.

It is a horse plough that will be drawn by a trac­tor dur­ing the cham­pi­onships, and Fowler will be be­hind the plough to op­er­ate it.

Com­pet­ing was a big chal­lenge, but he got on well with other com­peti­tors who of­ten ‘‘gave a bit of cheek’’, he said.

‘‘It’s a real art form ... it’s a sort of sport, a his­tory re­ally.’’

Thorn­bury Vin­tage Trac­tor and Im­ple­ment Club pres­i­dent Fraser Pearce said Fowler set an ex­am­ple for younger plough­men who looked up to him.

‘‘When the younger peo­ple come through, Tom’s gen­er­a­tion are quite happy to tu­tor and it’s great to see.’’ This year the club is host­ing the New Zealand Ploughing Cham­pi­onships on April 14 and 15. ‘‘It’s a big re­spon­si­bil­ity tak­ing on a New Zealand fi­nal,’’ Pearce said.

This year is the 63rd year of the com­pe­ti­tion, but will also be the 60th year since the first New Zealand fi­nal was ploughed in South­land and the first time ever in the small town of Thorn­bury.

So far more than 30 peo­ple have en­tered into the four classes – con­ven­tional plough, rev­ersible, vin­tage and horse.

Com­peti­tors will come from all over the coun­try, but pre­dom­i­nantly from South­land, Otago and Can­ter­bury.

Plough­men have com­peted at qual­i­fy­ing events through­out New Zealand to qual­ify for this event, Pearce said.

A lot went into judg­ing, in­clud­ing the neat­ness and straight­ness of the plough. ‘‘It’s a long road and a lot of com­mit­ment.’’

The winners of the con­ven­tional and rev­ersible classes will com­pete at the World Ploughing event in the United States in 2019.


Ploughing com­mit­tee chair­man Bob An­der­son with Fraser Pearce, Tom Fowler and the vin­tage plough.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.