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Rural Romeos Ride on the Wild Side

Rural Romeos Ride on the Wild Side

The Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year finalists faced a day of physical challenges today at Fieldays in their second day of competition for the Golden Gumboot trophy and title of Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year.

The highlight heat of the day for the Fieldays Rural Bachelor finalists was the Cutting Horse heat. On arrival at the arena, they were introduced to their Waikato-coloured-paint horse ‘Splinter’ who certainly had more buck that first appearances suggested with two Bachelors having to get back on after meeting the sand. Lee Matthews, from Wellington, suggested that his saddle slipped, but spectators seem to believe that a promise of a free beer for anyone who fell off pledged by NZ Cutting Horse Association commentator, Bob, may have had more to do with the falls. Lee Poolton won the heat, with Rob Pollock of the Waikato acknowledged as the most spectacular fall.

There was also plenty of action in other heats throughout the day. First up was the Skellerup heat, described by the Bachelors as African gumboot dancing. Students from Auckland’s Pakuranga College impressed crowds with a fast-paced and co-ordinated demonstration before the Rural Bachelors showed off their paces. A mix of enthusiasm and fancy footwork saw Patrick Bellerby of Hawkes Bay dance away with the heat. Lee Matthews of Wellington commented that he was used to stamping their feet, but that the coordination required was another matter!

The finalists were keen to get started on the Waikato Draught heat, until they discovered that they’d be stacking beer rather than drinking it. Northland finalist, Mark Woodcock, stripped off his shirt, determined to “beat the Southerner!” Woodcock’s efforts paid off and he shared the heat win with Lee Poolton from the Waikato. (More)

Lunchtime saw the Bachelors entertaining the noon crowd back on the Village Green with the Bachelor Pageant heat where they showed off prepared talent performances. The boys were a literary lot, with poetry and stories popular, rounded out with a speed shearing demonstration from Charlie Taituha of the King Country a musical lesson from Lee Matthews who made a didgeridoo out of a bamboo cane and played it for an appreciative audience.

Mid afternoon in the Hyundai heat, the Bachelors showed off some rural muscle shifting haybales through a slalom course of Hyundai promo girls. It wasn’t always the haybales that were lifted, with Patrick Bellerby substituting a Hyundai girl for one of his bales and winning the heat.

Ken Shearer, who has seen Bachelors come and go since the very first competition commented that today’s heats were a big ask. “It’s been a strenuous day that they’ve all handled well,” he said.

The competition is still a closely fought battle with just one day of heats to go before the Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year 2008 is announced on Saturday at 1pm. Catch the Bachelors in action in the STIHL Chainsaw Champs, Farm Fashion, RD1, and Drive a Digger heats tomorrow. Friday the 13th will be lucky for some with all eight Bachelors going under the hammer at 1.30pm at the RD1 site with all proceeds going to the Tamahere Firemen’s Families. This afternoon, the finalists called for great buyers with deep pockets.

The Bachelors return to the Fieldays’ 40th anniversary event tomorrow which runs through to Saturday 14 June 2008 with gates open from 8am to 5pm daily.


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