Untouchable Girls

June 4, 2018

The Topp Twins, Jules and Lynda, have become Dames in the Queens BIrthday Honours.

They were rebels, activists. Now they’re dames.

Entertainers Jools and Lynda, the Topp Twins, were appointed Dame Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Or as Jools – sorry, Dame Julie Bethridge Topp – puts it: “The rebels got their medals.” . . .


Rural Games to be annual event

February 9, 2015

Take a man with vision and the determination to showcase the sports that built a nation; add the Topp Twins, three former All Blacks and hundreds of elite rural sportspeople, mix them in a variety of competitive endeavours in Queenstown under blue skies and sunshine and what do you get?

The inaugural New Zealand Rural Games which were so successful it is to be an annual event:

Organisers of the first ever Hilux New Zealand Rural Games confirmed it will become an annual event after attracting more than 7,500 spectators to Queenstown over the Waitangi holiday weekend.

An estimated crowd of 5,000 people lined the downtown streets on Waitangi Day to watch around 400 locally-bred merino sheep pass by in the Running of the Wools. The free event, co-sponsored by the Otago Daily Times and clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture, proved the perfect curtain raiser for the next two days of traditional sports and live entertainment staged on Queenstown Recreation Ground.

Snow on the mountains around Lake Wakatipu after storms earlier in the week quickly melted as the sun ensured a warm and sunny atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike.

Billed as a showcase for ‘sports that built the nation’, nearly 200 competitors took part in 13 national and trans-Tasman championships including sheep dog trials, coal shovelling, wood chopping, speed shearing, speed fencing and gumboot throwing plus the Wild Buck Challenge taking place in the beer tent.

Spectators were entertained on both days by roving MCs, musical comedy duo the Topp Twins, plus three former All Blacks in Jeff Wilson, Justin Marshall and Toyota ambassador, Marc Ellis who competed with and against each other in several events over the weekend.

Day one highlights included the North Island taking out the NZ Inter-Island Challenge Sheep Dog Trials in association with Ngai Tahu Farming while former NZ strongman champion and national Highland Games number two, Reuben de Jong winning the NZ Rural Highland Games ‘Heavies’ trophy. The overall title of this new addition to the NZ Highland Games calendar, presented in association with PlaceMakers, was decided over the four traditional events of caber toss, stones lift, farmer’s walk and heavy stone toss.

The ANZAXE Trans Tasman Wood Chopping Championship pitched the four top-ranked Aussies – Jamie Head, Laurence O’Toole, Brent Rees and Brayden Myer – against New Zealand’s reigning world champion team of Shane Jordan, Jason Wynyard, Adam Lowe and Kyle Lemon.

Queenslander, Jamie Head took the overall trophy from Kiwis Shane Jordan (second) and Jason Wynyard (third), while the home team won the team event.

Australia had more individual success in the New Zealand championships for coal shovelling on Saturday and cherry stone spitting on Sunday. The reigning Australian champions in each sport, Stuart Turner from New South Wales and Clint Thompson from WA respectively, will take the titles back across the Ditch with them.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the NZ Wine Barrel Racing Championship attracted a global field including entrants from North America, Europe and Asia as well as home grown talent. Eventual men’s winner, Csaba Szondi was visiting from Hungary.

In the throwing events, 10-year-old Adam Stevens from Invercargill won the Bill Tapley Trophy for cow pat tossing held as part of Jetstar Kids ‘n Country, a series of fun events for the under-12s.

Interviewed after his victory he revealed the secret of his success: “I chose a nice tight turd and threw it as far as I could.”

After speed competitions for hand milking in association with Fonterra (featuring a pair of specially adapted fibreglass cows), tree climbing, fencing (in association with Line 7) and gold panning there was victory for five-time world shearing champion, David Fagan in the NZ Speed Shear Championship in association with Toyota Hilux. The veteran from Te Kuiti will retire from competition in April at the end of the current New Zealand season.

In the Games’ penultimate event, an excited crowd witnessed a new national record for egg throwing and catching of 61.7m recorded by Justin Marshall (throwing) and Jeff Wilson (catching). Then the first NZ Gumboot Throwing Championship, in association with Skellerup, saw both men and women’s North Island teams (selected during last year’s Taihape Gumboot Day) win against South Island teams that qualified through Saturday’s regional champs.

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander was delighted with how the event turned out.

“What a weekend! We’re all taken aback by the New Zealand public’s enthusiasm for rural sports some of which have all but died out as spectator events. That’s our vision – to preserve the legacy of traditional sports for future generations, bringing them to the attention of the wider population and ensuring this country’s rural spirit is celebrated for many years to come,” he said.

“Huge thanks for everyone who competed and came along to make the event such a success, as well as our amazing volunteers and event crew. We’re already planning for next year so see you in Queenstown on Waitangi weekend 2016.”

Sky Sports will be showing an hour-long highlights programme of the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games at 6.30pm on Friday 13 February.

TV3’s coverage of the Games is here.

TV1’s coverage is here.

Steve Hollander has been working on the concept for about five years.

I became chair of the Games Trust late last year after most of the hard work had been done.

The last three days were a very good reflection on Steve’s drive and determination and the work he and his team had put in to dotting is and crossing ts.

Competition was fierce and competitors and spectators were treated to a weekend of excitement and entertainment.


Sports that built the nation

January 30, 2015

The Hilux NZ Rural Games are being held in Queenstown next weekend.

They start with the Running of the Wools and a waka race on Friday February 6th.

A variety of other events including dog trials, wood chopping, speed shearing, speed hand milking, gum boot throwing, cherry stone spitting, highland games, coal shovelling, tree climbing and wine barrel rolling will take place on the Saturday and Sunday.

There will be opportunities for crowd participation.

An outdoor concert starring Jody Direen, James Reid of the Feelers and the Topp Twins will take place on Saturday evening.

You can buy tickets in advance or pay a bit more on the day.

P.S.

I chair the trust which is running the Games.

 


Win family weekend in Queenstown for Hilux NZ Rural Games

January 26, 2015

The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games and its sponsors are giving you the chance to enjoy a great family weekend of traditional sports and live entertainment.

Taking place this Waitangi holiday, 7-8 February, the inaugural Games feature national championships and Trans Tasman challenges for ‘sports that built the nation’ including wood chopping, speed shearing, speed fencing, sheep dog trials and the four iconic Highland Games ‘heavy’ events.

The Topp Twins provide entertainment on both days and there are fun events for kids as well as local food and wine all set in the stunning Southern Alps. For more details see www.ruralgames.co.nz

 This amazing prize includes:

– 1 x Family ‘full event’ pass for the Games weekend, 7-8 February; that includes both days and the Queenstown Summer Concert with Jody Direen and friends (Sat 7.30-10.30pm) for 2 adults and up to 3 kids

– Use of a Toyota Hilux for the weekend

– Two nights’ 4-Star hotel accommodation at the Heritage Queenstown provided by Ngai Tahu Farming

– A year’s supply of milk from Fonterra

– Branded clothing from Wild Buck and Line7.

You’ll find the entry form with terms and conditions at the link above.

There’s more on the Hilux NZ Rural Games here.

P.S. I chair the Trust which is running the Games.


Running of the Wools

December 18, 2014

The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games will be starting with a baaaa:

A spectacle not seen in Queenstown for decades will be staged again next February as more than 300 merino sheep run through the town centre to herald the start of the inaugural Hilux New Zealand Rural Games over the Waitangi holiday weekend.

The ‘Running of the Wools’ is planned as a dramatic celebration of the region’s farming heritage evoking memories of early settlers and highlighting the merino’s continued importance to New Zealand’s rural economy. The free event takes place on Waitangi Day, Friday 6 February and is co-sponsored by the Otago Daily Times and clothing and gift retailer, Global Culture.

Beginning at midday, merinos will leave pens on Athol Street and run over the Ballarat Street bridge by the Village Green. They then turn right onto Camp Street before turning left into Beach Street and running all the way down to finish at Earnslaw Park.

Spectators will have plenty of opportunities along the barrier-lined route to witness a forgotten side of Queenstown’s history.

From the early settler period, sheep were regularly transported from surrounding high country stations into Queenstown, including some by barge across Lake Wakatipu, before continuing to Dunedin for processing and export.

All stock for the Running of the Wools are being transported via road by Northern Southland Transport. They include around 300 dry stock – merino whethers and ewes – from Mt Nicholas Station on the south side of Lake Wakatipu and around 50 horned rams from Bendigo Station near Tarras. Bendigo was home to the globally famous merino ram ‘Shrek’ who grew the world’s heaviest fleece while evading muster for several years.

merino(Bendigo merinos at home on the station)

 

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games founder and trustee, Steve Hollander said it was going to be an amazing spectacle for locals and visitors alike. “

This will be a sight to behold! It’s easy to forget that sheep farming powered Queenstown’s economy long before it became one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations,” he said. “The merino is a real symbol not only of that high country heritage but also of the huge contribution farming continues to make to our national economy. Just think of the global phenomenon of merino clothing that began right here in Otago and continues to grow.”

Mr Hollander said he hoped to make the Running of the Wools an annual event to tie in with the Games itself. The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games feature several national championships for sports including speed shearing, sheep dog trials, speed fencing, gumboot throwing and coal shovelling as well as four Highland Games ‘heavy’ events and the Trans-Tasman ANZAXE Wood Chopping Championship.

Entertainment on both days is provided by the Topp Twins who also open a live concert on the Saturday evening headlined by local country pop sensation, Jody Direen. Tickets for the two-day Games and concert are now sale via Ticket Direct. For more information visit the event website at www.ruralgames.co.nz.

The Rural Games aim to bring together the sports that built the nation:

At the heart of the Games are a series of traditional sports attracting top competitors from throughout New Zealand and Australia. You can expect to see several national and world champions battling for the first Hilux New Zealand Rural Games titles.

Together with Sport New Zealand and rural sports associations around NZ we’ve developed exciting new formats for competitive wood chopping, sheep shearing, sheep dog trials, speed fencing, coal shovelling, speed gold panning and other traditional sports. We’ll also be hosting the ANZAXE Wood Chopping Championship, Highland Games ‘heavy’ events and a feature event of the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest, the Silver Fern Farms Agri-Sport Challenge – always a crowd favourite!

As well as the competitive element, the Games will feature a fun-packed festival programme including a live concert featuring NZ country pop sensation Jody Direen, daily entertainment from the Topp Twins, fun participation events like cherry stone spitting and wine barrel racing, kids activities plus delicious local food and wine.

Rural sports organisations have their individual events across the country through out the year.

The Rural Games will bring them together in Queenstown with competitions for elite sports people. There will also be less serious sections for people from the crowd to take part in.

P.S. I chair the trust which is running the games.


Untouchable Girls

May 6, 2010

Day six of New Zealand Music Month – the Topp Twins with Untouchable Girls.


The Topp Twins – Let Me Wander

May 27, 2009

Day 27 of the tune a day for NZ Music Month challenge.

One of my uncles could play the spoons, he also played the bull fiddle – a broom handle attached to a box with a long piece of thick string which made a thumming sort of noise.

The Topp Twins aren’t playing the bull fiddle in this clip but they do play the spoons:

Rounding up the other blogs:

The Bads were singing Bit by Bit at Inquiring Mind.

And it’s Bliss from Th’ Dudes at Keeping Stock.


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