When the then Skellerup Young Farmer of the Year contest moved from radio to television the TV people said the contest would have to be filmed in a studio in Wellington.
The Young Farmers’ organising committee said no, that would kill the contest, it must stay in the reigons. They won and the contest moves round each of Young Farmers’ seven regions, alternating between North & South Islands each year.
The result is rivalry not just between contestants but between regions who ensure they have the best Grand Final possible. In the process they attract a lot of local support and visitors from all over the country.
This year’s final of what is now the National Bank Young Farmer Contest is taking place in Ashburton. Tickets to tomorrow night’s show and dinner sold out weeks ago and there isn’t a spare bed to be had for miles around. It’s great for the local economy, for the contest and Young Farmers.
The programme started on Wednesday with a north vs south rural challenge in the town’s main street. It was won by the South Islanders, who may have had an at-home advantage for the swede tossing.
The contest got more serious yesterday with theoretical and technical challenges and the presentation of a project on market innovation.
Last night’s three minute prepared speeches covered a variety of topics including Heros: Hone Heke or Hopkins? It’s a personal choice; My Frist Time and Taking An Agricultural Approach to Raising Children.
Today it’s all go on the Ashburton Domain for the practical competition which carries a lot of points and may determine the winner because, if as happened last year there is a tie at the end, the title goes to the one with the most points in the practical.