When Charlotte Leach saw that the Fieldays Rural Bachelor competition had changed to the “Rural Catch” competition last year, essentially making it a competition for both sexes, she thought she’d give it a try and enter.
But it was still quite the surprise when she got the call to say she’d made it through as one of the eight contestants.
“I was shaking when they called,” she said, “I was like, ‘oh wow, this is actually happening!’”
The 21-year-old Dairy NZ Research Technician said she’s willing to give anything a go in the competition, but would probably do best in the innovative or creative-type challenges.
“I’m willing to give it all a go, although some of them I probably won’t know how to do! Chainsaws are probably not my strong suit but I definitely want to take things by the horns and give it a try.”
Throughout Fieldays week the contestants, who all work in the agricultural industry, will be required to show off their skills in the areas of fencing, innovations, chainsaws, health and wellbeing, finance and ATV skills.
On the Wednesday evening of Fieldays they’ll also have a chance to have a bit of fun and meet some new people in the off-site ‘Meet a Mate’ event.
“Ultimately I’d like to meet a partner,” Charlotte said as to why she entered. “In the farming world you’re so focused on your work you barely find time to actually get out there and meet new people, so it would be nice to find someone on that same wavelength.
“But even more than that, just getting new friends out of it will be really cool. The experience is going to be great.
“I love Fieldays. I think it’s really cool that people can showcase their innovations, from high school students to people who are retired and still coming up with cool ideas. It’s mind blowing what they come up with.”
Charlotte is more than familiar with Fieldays having grown up in Cambridge. She couldn’t count how many times she’s been, due to the fact that her parents Chris and Tasha were exhibitors for years as alpaca farm owners.
Now attending this year as a Rural Catch contestant, she’s looking forward to the chance to get behind the scenes at Fieldays. “I’m looking forward to is seeing the parts that not everyone sees,” she said.
The eight contestants, which includes two South Islanders, four North Islanders and two wildcards selected by sponsors, will gather for a meet-and-greet on Monday before the competition gets underway at Fieldays on Wednesday.
With a pool of prizes up for grabs, the ultimate title in the competition is the coveted Golden Gumboot trophy, which last year went to Taihape’s Mairi Whittle, with Charlotte’s colleague Ben Fisher finishing second. Along with the Golden Gumboot, up for grabs in the grand prize will be a brand-new Suzuki King Quad worth $17,995 and a $2000 Swanndri voucher.