The notion of fixing fences and driving tractors being men’s work is being bowled flat at this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays as the traditional Fieldays Rural Bachelor competition is being brought into the 21st Century.
For the first time in 13 years – the Fieldays Rural Bachelor is open to both male and female contestants, with the competition this year searching New Zealand and Australia to find eight talented rural competitors to test their skill both on and off the farm to find the ultimate champion.
Previously, between challenges the finalists would attend rural functions and activities, meeting and spending time with a group of rural women known as the Gumboot Girls – but that’s all about to change.
Fieldays major event manager Lee Picken says there are women all over the country working in the rural sector – and it’s about time the competition caught up.
New comp name
“In the past we’ve had women coming along to support the men but that’s just so outdated. They can do the work just like men so now they can compete just like men” says Lee.
The changes to the competition recognise the role both men and women play in the agriculture industry and support for the new format has been huge.
Last year’s winner Matthew McAtamney says the changes will bring a new element to the competition and will make great entertainment.
“There are heaps of really talented people working in the industry, and I think this year’s finalists will be putting it all on the line to show New Zealand what they’ve got,” says Matthew.
The format of the competition will remain the same and there won’t be any gender specific competition or titles, however the name Fieldays Rural Bachelor won’t cut it anymore.
“This competition is about celebrating the talented men and women working in the agricultural industry and giving them the opportunity to take a break and meet some new people,” says Lee.
“It’s a search to find the ultimate rural catch so this year’s finalists will be competing for the title of Fieldays Rural Catch of the Year.”
No rose ceremonies
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 industry.
Partnered by Farmlands Co-operative, the competition is exclusively for singles but Lee says you won’t find any rose ceremonies here.
“Yes it would be nice to see our finalists find love but we won’t be match making. Over the years we’ve seen romances and bromances blossom and honestly that’s all we really want.
“Rural life can mean long hours in remote locations so it’s all about finding support and building networks.”
You can view the criteria and apply for Fieldays Rural Catch at: www.fieldays.co.nz/whats-on/rural-catch/