Fieldays 2018 Rural Catch finalists announced

Four men and women from New Zealand and Australia have been chosen as the 2018 Fieldays Rural Catch finalists

Formerly known as the Rural Bachelor completion, Fieldays Rural Catch has been a popular at the four-day event at Mystery Creek in Hamilton for the past 13 years. Each year, eight rural competitors (four women and four men) from New Zealand and Australia battle it out at NZ National Fieldays to win the coveted Golden Gumboot.

Talking about this year’s applicants, Lynn Robinson, Fieldays Rural Catch event manager, says, “We had an encouraging number of entries from all over New Zealand and from various agri-sectors, including dairy, and sheep and beef drystock.

“The calibre of entrants is very high, and it was challenging to narrow it down to just eight finalists. The women are especially talented. I’m sure they’ll give the guys a run for their money.”

2018 Fieldays Rural Catch finalists

This year, the eight finalists include Ben Fisher, DairyNZ farm manager; former Gumboot Girl Eira Lloyd-Forrest, who is passionate about animal health and supporting the agricultural industry; Berny Hall, a dairy farmer from New Plymouth; Lilly Newton, based in Urenui and a trainee helicopter pilot and drystock farmer; Mairi Whittle, a former rural bank manager now working as a shepherd; Mat Hilhort of Atiamuri, an agricultural machine operator; Renae Flett from Palmerston North, a sole contract milker; and Sam Hugson, a dairy farm manager based out of Hawera.

Rural Catch is an all-expenses paid competition for the finalists, which starts on 10 June with the Farmlands Roadtrip that will give contestants a chance to know each other. The challenge will begin on 13 June.

This year the competition will feature traditional challenges such as fencing, quad bike skills, and dog handling along with the ‘fittest farmer’ challenge introduced last year. Contestants will also be tested on their financial skills and will also have challenges involving tractors and cooking – but with a twist.

The winner will win the Golden Gumboot trophy and a prize pool pf $20,000. For more information on Fieldays Rural Catch, visit

A former Fieldays Rural Bachelor winner says he met his future wife at New Zealand National Fieldays. Read more about it on Farm Trader.

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