Rural skills on show at Fieldays
09 June 2008
Rural skills on show at Fieldays
Rural skills will step off the farm this week as the fencing and tractor pull competitions kick off this week at the 40th New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
The Fieldays Wiremark & Cyclone Fencing Championships have been running since the very first Fieldays in 1969, bringing the country’s best fencers to one place to compete for the Golden Pliers (singles) and Silver Spades (doubles) awards. Competition coordinator, Lianne Dunbar, says that the Fencing Championships are not only long-lived, but a key contributor to improving the fencing skills of farmers and contractors. “The Fieldays Wiremark & Cyclone Fencing Championships are an educational showcase as well as a competition,” she says. “Since 1969, young fencers have been coming up through the ranks and learning from the more experienced competitors. The competition also shows off fencing skills used every day on the farm – it’s a great resource for farmers and lifestyle block owners who are doing their own fencing at home.”
There will be some familiar faces at the Fencing Championships again this year, with veteran fencer Owen Petersen determined to win back the Golden Pliers from 2007 winner Paul Van Beers. Competition is always fierce between the two long-time competitors with Van Beers aiming for his eleventh win at Fieldays’ 40th event.
To celebrate the milestone event, the Fieldays Wiremark & Cyclone Fencing Championships introduce a new challenge in 2008 with Silver Spades entrants fencing without the aid of powered tools. “It will be fencing the way it used to be,” Dunbar explains. “The lack of powered tools will give us a real appreciation of how far fencing has come.”
On the other side of the Fieldays site, the Fieldays National Tractor Pull competition will roar into life on an improved track thanks to new sponsor, Interbloc. Tractor Pull competition Coordinator, Gemma Antoniadis, says that the tractor pull is one of Fieldays most popular competitions with visitors. “Surveys consistently show that visitors love the tractor pull,” she says. “Redevelopment of the tractor pull area will provide better viewing opportunities for everyone.”
The new Farm Stock competition will also be an attraction, particularly for new entrants and farmers wanting to have a go. Popular in Europe already, Farm Stock comes to New Zealand for the first time in 2008 at Fieldays. In this new class, tractors must be 2-wheel-drive, with no modifications to the engine or transmission with modifications allowed to the injector, injector pump and turbo only in the Farm Stock Sport class. Event Chairman, Andrew Reymer, is enthusiastic about the new competition. “Basically, we hope that this will encourage some fresh interest in the competition and give people who haven’t got the money to sink into super modifieds the chance to have a go,” Reymer says.
Farm Stock will be joined by the standard Tractor Pull competition and the boy-racers of the agricultural world, the Super Modifieds. Heats for all classes run daily at Fieldays from 9am with grand finals at 1:30pm on Saturday followed by prizegiving.
Fieldays’ 40th anniversary event kicks off on Wednesday, 11 June 2008 and runs through to Saturday 14 June 2008 with gates open from 8am to 5pm daily.