The 2018 Golden Gumboot winner

Taihape, known as the Gumboot capital of the world, has become home to another gumboot, the Golden Gumboot, after local Mairi Whittle takes out Fieldays Rural Catch competition.

Mairi came out with top honours after a gruelling week of competitions for the eight Fieldays Rural Catch finalists who were tested on their knowledge and skills on quad bikes, chainsaws, health and wellbeing, fencing, artificial insemination, dog-handling, financials, cooking, tractors and fitness.

The former rural bank manager is currently working as a shepherd on a 1,100ha beef and sheep farm east of Taipahe and will be heading back to celebrate and the make the most of the fantastic prize pool.

The Competition

Who says fixing fences and driving tractors is men’s work? We sure don’t.

Four men and four women from around the country have been named as the 2018 Fieldays Rural Catch finalists. Not only are the finalists a catch for any potential love interest but their rural skills and knowledge of agricultural business makes them a catch for any employer, business partner and the wider ag-industry.

Finalists have the opportunity to mingle and charm their fans, both at the Fieldays and various evening functions during the week. The winner will walk away with an impressive prize pool worth over $20,000 thanks to our sponsors, as well as the coveted ‘Golden Gumboot’ trophy.

Farmlands Road Trip

The competition begins on Sunday 10 June 2018 with the Farmlands Road Trip, giving finalists the chance to get to know each other and try their hand at some challenges and activities before the serious stuff begins on Wednesday 13 June.

Monday 11 June

Farmlands Pukekohe
12:00pm – 2:00pm

Join us at Farmlands Pukekohe as the Rural Catches compete in an animal sculpting and fastest shopper competition.

Farmlands Morrinsville

Join us at Farmlands Morrinsville and catch the contestants packing a picnic for their ideal date.

Tuesday 12 June

Farmlands Te Awamutu
8.00am -10.00am

Check which contestant can build the best burger Farmlands at Te Awamutu in the build a burger challenge.

Fieldays comes to Putaruru - Putaruru District Services Memorial Club

Wednesday 13 June 
Fieldays comes to Putaruru – Putaruru  District Services Memorial Club 

Rural Catch Contestants will compete with the local Putaruru catches and then the evening will conclude with an old-fashioned dance.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased Pip Office, 2 Overdale Street, Bridgestone Tyre Centre 103 Tirau Street and Raewyn Whiteman -Thore 027 281 0342.

Onsite Fieldays Timetable

Wednesday 13th June
09:30 – Introduction to the Finalists
11:00 – Suzuki ATV Skills Challenge
13:00 – STIHL Challenge
14:30 – Health & Wellbeing Challenge

Thursday 14th June
9:30 – Taragate don’t fence me in Challenge
11:00 – LIC Bullseye Challenge
12:30 – Dog Handling with Chelsea’s Ultimate Canines
14:30 – Nail Your Numbers with Xero

Friday 15th June
9:00 – Culinary Challenge with Brett McGregor
11:00 – Giltrap AgriZone Tractor Challenge
13:00 – Fittest Farmer Challenge
14:30 – Farmlands Problem Solving Challenge

Saturday 16th June
12:00 – Rural Catch of the Year Prizegiving

Meet the Contestants

After searching the country, we have found four eligible rural males and four eligible rural females to represent the farming community in a week-long, all-expenses-paid trip.

Ben Fisher

Age: 30
Star Sign: Virgo
Hometown: Ohaupo, Waikato

Ben works for DairyNZ managing one of their research farms and a team of seven staff. He’ll give anything a go and he’s passionate about the rural sector and animal welfare. Ben enjoys a quiet night in on the couch watching a movie and loves being around friends and family.

Describe your ideal date: Ben’s ideal date involves a nice dinner at a restaurant with good chat, then home to watch a movie and relax.

Eira Lloyd-Forrest

Age: 28
Star Sign: Scorpio
Hometown: Geraldine, South Canterbury

Eira’s our fiery redhead who loves meeting new people, is passionate about animal health and supporting the dairy industry, Eira has been dairy farming for the last 10 years milking cows and rearing calves. Taking charge of the farm and staff when the boss is away, Eira was a Gumboot Girl last year and thought she needed to show the boys up since this year girls can enter.

Describe your ideal date: Her ideal date would be a day in the Mackenzie Country or Central Otago, on a horse trek or hunting trip together, enjoying the unreal scenery, followed by dinner and some banter.

Berny Hall

Age: 29
Star Sign: Aries
Hometown: New Plymouth, Taranaki

Not afraid to put himself out there and have a bit of fun Berny is passionate about sustainability and how we feed the world. Berny currently works in between his family farm and neighbours place, will be taking up a 50/50 sharemilker role in June.

Describe your ideal date: Berny’s ideal date would be exploring somewhere they haven’t been, preferably on the coast with dinner to match.

Lilly Newton

Age: 21
Star Sign: Taurus
Hometown: Urenui, Taranaki

You’ll hear her before you see her, she’s outgoing and loves a good yarn. Lilly works on a sheep and beef farm focussed on fattening lambs, dairy grazers and angus breeding and works part time for Precision Helicopters as a helicopter Load Master. She’s also caring and thoughtful towards animals and passionate about women in male dominated careers.

Describe your ideal date: Her ideal date would be a trip in the chopper somewhere spontaneous with a five-star feed and some cold beers.

Mairi Whittle

Age: 28
Star Sign: Cancer
Hometown: Taihape, Rangitikei

Mairi is fun-loving and easy-going, she is skilled in stockmanship, financial planning and pasture management. Mairi worked as a rural bank manager for five years before ticking off her bucket list and returning to the farm. She is currently working as a shepherd on a 1,100ha sheep and beef farm east of Taihape where she enjoys being outside in the amazing scenery working with dogs and stock.

Describe your ideal date: She’d love to find someone to share this amazing lifestyle with and her friends have threatened that if she doesn’t through this, they’ve enter her into married at first sight!

Mat Hilhorst

Age: 30
Star Sign: Libra
Hometown: Atiamuri, Taupo

Mat loves that everyday is different, his day to day jobs include machine operator, agricultural engineering and general dairy farming activities. He loves a good laugh and is easy to talk to. Mat loves being outdoors, surrounded by livestock and enjoys working with machinery.

Describe your ideal date: Mat’s ideal date would be doing something adventurous, dinner and drinks having a good laugh, then cutting some shapes on the dance floor.

Renae Flett

Age: 32
Star Sign: Aries
Hometown: Palmerston North, Manawatu

Renae is a sole contract milker who spends her days milking cows, riding horses, doing farm maintenance and shifting calves on a 180 cow 70ha dairy farm just out of Rongotea in the Manawatu. Renae is friendly, bubbly and caring, always there to help anyone when they need it and is passionate about animal health, pasture management and is keen to help teach future farmers.

Describe your ideal date: Renae’s ideal date would be something simple like a picnic overlooking a nice farm view.

Sam Hughson

Age: 21
Star Sign: Virgo
Hometown: Hawera, Taranaki

Sam manages three farm staff and oversees the day-to-day management of an 800-cow farm out of Taranaki where cows are milked through a fully automated rotary shed and fed supplement year-round on a feed pad. Sam is motivated and focused, enjoys working with cows and machinery and seeing the land develop, and is interested in shrinking the rural/urban divide and supporting his community.

Describe your ideal date: His ideal date would be fish and chips at the beach watching the sunset.