They say where there’s a will there’s a way, and that was definitely the case at The National Bank Young Farmer Contest when Will Grayling took out the title of Contest Champion for 2011.
He has taken out The Ultimate Rural Challenge after three days of intense competition in Masterton. It all started on Thursday with the Technical Day at Brancepeth Station followed by the Practical Day at the Solway A&P Showgrounds and tonight’s Televised Grand Final Evening Show.
Along with the excitement of winning, Will said he was feeling very relieved after such a gruelling week.
“It’s been a pretty challenging week, there were some tough times but I stuck in there. A lot of hard work has gone into this and it’s great to get this result.”
Will’s fiancé Kimberley True summed up the Contest as ‘the true test of a man’ and congratulated all seven Contestants for their hard work throughout the week.
Nearly 800 people attended the Televised Grand Final Evening Show at the Wairarapa College Auditorium, which was broadcast live on TVNZ 7 with delayed coverage on TV One.
Twenty five year old Will from the Pendarves Club was representing the Aorangi Region. He’s a manager on a 1600 cow dairy farm in Ashburton and is due to marry Kim in December this year. He has a Masters of Applied Science from Lincoln University and was a first time Contestant at Grand Final level.
It didn’t look like it was going to be Will’s night earlier on and even he was worried that the title could be out of his grasp after he made some mistakes in the early question buzzer rounds.
“I thought it was slipping away several times – I got off to a rough start.”
In the end though, his all-round performance secured him the win; he took out the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge after delivering a presentation on the supply of colostrum earlier in the week. He received an AGMARDT Scholarship towards a career development programme valued at $15,000. He also won the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge, taking away a Lincoln University conference package for an industry related conference – domestically or internationally to the value of $8,000. It was a tight race though; Will won the Challenge by only .2 of a mark over Tim van de Molen.
Will also won a $62,000 Grand Final prize package that includes 12 month’s complimentary use of an Isuzu D-Max valued at approximately $15,000, a Honda TRX420FPM power steer four-wheel drive manual ATV $ valued at 15,000, $10,000 cash from The National Bank, quality products and services from Ravensdown to the value of $7,000, a selection of quality outdoor power equipment from ECHO to the value of $7,000, a Lincoln University scholarship for study towards a Specialist Masters of Professional Studies or entry to the Kellogg Programme valued at $5,000, an AGMARDT Scholarship towards a career development programme valued at $2,000 and a range of Swanndri clothing to the value of $1,000.Isuzu Agri-Sports winner – 12 month’s complimentary use of a Isuzu D-Max valued at $15,000
It could have very nearly been Tim van de Molen’s night as he was close behind Will in the last few rounds. After a late run, it looked like Tim could be the one to take it out. In the end Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s Tim ended with 299 points to Will’s 306.
Tim did win the Isuzu Agri-sports Challenge however, and he will drive away from Masterton with 12 month’s complimentary use of an Isuzu D-Max valued at approximately $15,000.
Also winning on the night was East Coast’s Mike Croad. He took out the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge and went home with Ravensdown quality products and services to the value of $14,000.
The Evening Show was also a chance to pay tribute to a man that has put an enormous amount of hardwork into The National Bank Young Farmer Contest over the past 21 years. Jim Hopkins has been the Compere of the Contest since 1991 and was presented with a ‘this is your life’ book from Televised Show host Mark Leishman on behalf of New Zealand Young Farmers. Former Contest Manager Bruce McDougall and NZYF CEO Richard Fitzgerald also paid tribute to Jim.
Other events held as part of the Grand Final Practical Day at the Solway A&P Showgrounds on Friday were the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg Grand Finals.
AgriKidsNZ 2011 Champions were Benjamin Cook, David Olsen and Zoe Cook who are also known as the Future Farmers that represent the Northern Region. Second place went to South Makirikiri One from the Taranaki/Manawatu Region and was made up of Jack Pilet, Josh Pilit and Olivia Smallbone. Lauren Collyns, Grace White and Luke Parker came in third; they’re the MISiles from Masterton Intermediate.
Otago/Southland Region did well in the TeenAg Grand Final with Team Waikaka made up of Robert Gregory and James Gardyne taking out first place, and it was a bit of a family affair with Allan Gregory and Richard Gardyne (also known as the DK boys from Gore) coming in second. Representing the East Coast, Cameron Hassell and Nathan Gunson from Stortford Lodge placed third.