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Groves holds out over Tasman rivals

Groves holds out over Tasman rivals

It was edge of your seat stuff last night at the Tasman Regional Final of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest. The lead had been changing all night, and with only seven points separating the top three Contestants and a late run made by Reuben Carter in the final question round; the tension in the Lincoln University Dining Hall was evident. It was Cole Groves however that was the eventual winner; taking out the win over Reuben by just three points.

Twenty four year old Dunsandel dairy farmer Cole knew how tight the scores were going into the last round; he had one thought running through his mind “don’t stuff up.”

“I knew that to keep the lead I had to make sure I only buzzed in on the questions that I was 100% sure of. “

Cole admitted that he wasn’t happy with his performance in the practical modules and said that the theory side of the Contest was where his strengths lay. This was evident with his performance during the question buzzer rounds where a little bit of behind the scenes work and Contest experience paid off.

“I think experience definitely helps during the intense question part of the Contest. I’ve also been putting a lot of study in after work over the last few weeks, brushing up on my general knowledge – but the heart was still pounding up there.”

Cole also took out the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge where Contestants were grilled by a panel of judges. While he may prefer the theory, Cole did cross the finish line first during the big crowd pleaser – the Isuzu Agri-sports Challenge at the South Island Agricultural Field Days. The intensity of the day was clear after he slid down a water slide to the finish line.

“I’m absolutely shattered, it’s been a massive day so far and it just keeps going uphill. It gets harder and harder.”

There’s no rest for Cole however after his win; it was back to the dairy shed at 5.30am this morning and then as Tasman Regional Chair for New Zealand Young Farmers he’ll be attending the AGM in Lincoln today.

The next big challenge will be Grand Final in Masterton from June 29th. Already Cole is thinking ahead; he plans to seek guidance from previous Contestants and judges and try to work on his weaknesses.

Not only was Cole named as Tasman’s representative at Grand Final but he also took home a very generous prize pack. The pack is worth $10,250 and includes a Honda XR125 two-wheeled farm bike valued at $4000, a $1500 Lincoln University Scholarship, $1000 cash and $500 towards a capability development programme from AGMARDT, a weekend hunting trip courtesy of Isuzu valued at $1000, Ravensdown quality fertiliser products worth $1000, a range of Swanndri clothing valued at $750 and The National Bank will provide $500 cash.

It was a disappointingly close finish for second place getter 27 year old Lincoln University student and part time farmer Reuben Carter. Just three points behind the winner, it was Reuben that shone during the practical parts of the day.

Cole may have crossed the line first but on points count back it was Reuben who took out the Isuzu Agri-sports Challenge where Contestants had to complete tasks including de-limbing a tree, tossing a sheath, and assembling a knapsack.

He also very comfortably won the Ravensdown Agri-skills challenge which was made up of a variety of thirty minute agricultural modules. These included the engineering module where Contestants make a pitch fork that they later had to use during the Isuzu Agri-sports Challenge. Another interesting module was excavation which saw Contestants attempting to ‘jump’ a fence post with a digger.

Michael Woodward (30) put in a solid all round performance throughout the day and was a real contender for the win. He was in the lead several times during the Evening Show but unfortunately this will be his last chance to compete at Regional Final as the cut off age for Contest is 31.

Twenty five year old farm owner Dave Winter came in fourth and also put up a good fight during the day, winning the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge.

Another winner on the night was Lincoln University Scholarship of Excellence recipient, 19 year old Todd Howard who is currently completing a Diploma of Agriculture at Lincoln.

The Road to Recovery Auction was again held during the Evening Show thanks to Honda, Echo, Ravensdown and The National Bank. Over $4500 was raised for the Earthquake Recovery Fund. The Contestants’ hard work during the Isuzu Head to Head Challenge, where they had to construct planter boxes, also benefited the Recovery Fund. Although comments were made that most of the planter boxes were useful for no more than firewood, the boxes were auctioned off for an average of $20.

For those who couldn’t make it along to the Regional Final, there’s another chance to catch all the action when it screens on TVNZ 7’s Road to the Young Farmer Final on June 11th. In the meantime supporters can get involved by cheering on their favourite Regional Finalist at by leaving a message of support.


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