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New Zealand’s Largest Rural Sporting Event Set To Hit Palmerston North

Prepare yourselves for an exhilarating weekend as the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games descends upon Palmerston North! From Thursday March 7th – 10th, Rural Sports athletes from all corners of the nation, and some from the other island, will gather to witness the grandeur of New Zealand's largest rural sporting extravaganza.

Palmerston North will be buzzing with excitement as spectators and participants alike come together for a celebration of our country's rural heritage. From the iconic Sheepdog Trials and Highland Games to the unconventional contests like egg roulette and cowpat throwing, there's something for everyone at this spectacular event!

Steve Hollander, the inspiration behind the events: "The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games celebrates our nation's rich rural traditions while embracing the quirky and unconventional. This year, we're proud to offer an expanded lineup of activities, ensuring there's never a dull moment!"

Prepare for epic showdowns as reigning champions defend their titles in major championship clashes. From the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® championships to the Forest Industry Contractors Association Golden Loader title, the competition promises to be fierce and electrifying.

But the excitement doesn't stop there! New activation, including axe throwing, chainsaw sculpture, and the traditional Māori team game Kī-o-rahi, and Rural Fire's slip and slide (bring a change of clothes) promise to elevate the thrill to new heights.

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In a heartwarming gesture amidst the cost-of-living pressures, the event organisers have ensured accessibility for all. Thanks to the support of Horizons Regional Council, free buses will be available on Saturday and Sunday, making it easier than ever to join the festivities. Additionally, Palmerston North Lions Clubs will offer gold-coin parking in Railway Land Reserve, with proceeds benefiting Palmerston North Hospital's renal unit.

Prepare to be pampered as STIHL brings "Sharpest Cuts" with free haircuts for men and boys, ensuring everyone looks their best while enjoying the festivities. Both STIHL and Cocky will have stores selling merchandise and tools. Plus, a relaxation zone and disability parking booking system have been implemented to enhance the experience for all attendees.

With renowned MCs, exciting prizes, and a lineup of thrilling events, the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games promises an unforgettable experience for the whole family – especially with dozens of activities for under 12s to take part in.

Our MCs include Rowena Duncum, Erin Speedy, Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins and Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson.

Attendees can create their own schedule using the Rural Games Whotsonwhere App – by registering they go in the draw for prizes drawn throughout the Weekend.

Our TV3 1-hr Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games programme presented by TV3 Sports Reporter Tia McDougall, Farm4Life’s Tangaroa Walker and the legendary Mark Leishman will run:

· 5pm on Saturday March 30th

· 9:30am on Saturday April 6th

The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games livestream will run on Rural Games social media channels across the weekend.

Information about other events across the four days:

Agri Futures Clash of the Colleges and Food and Fibre Career Pathways: 60 teams of students from secondary schools from the Wairarapa to New Plymouth, Taupo and Hastings will compete in 15 modules that will test their farm and forestry skills, alongside rural sports. Of note shearing legends Rowland Smith, Sir David Fagan will be on hand to aid and assist students putting a handpiece together. MCed by social media sensation and dairy farmer Tangaroa Walker from Farm4Life.

Alongside that, ten food and fibre training organisations will provide career advice to those considering a job in the food and fibre sector.

Ford New Zealand Rural Sports Awards: More than 430 people from the world of rural sports and the food and fibre sector will gather for this auspicious occasion at Awapuni Racing Centre in Palmerston North. Guest presenters include Olympic Swimmer Louis Clareburt, Olympic Rower and Swimmer, Joseph Sullivan, Paralympic Swimmer Cameron Leslie MNZM, All Blacks Manager, and mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka ONZM, Paralympian Javelin Thrower Holly Robinson MNZM, Associate Minister for Agriculture Andrew Hoggard and the legend that is Shearing World Record Holder Sacha Bond.

MacDougall Rural Challenge Chairty Golf: 30 teams will take part in a 4-ball Ambrose team event at Manawatu Golf Course on Thursday 7 March – raising funds for Manawatū Rangitīkei Rural Family Support Trust.

© Scoop Media

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