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Join us as we search for the Fieldays Rural
Bachelor of the Year for 2016

Welcome to Rural Bachelor of the Year!

Fieldays is thrilled to announce the eight finalists to compete in the Rural Bachelor of the Year. This year, two Australian and six Kiwi bachelors will battle it out as they compete to win the coveted Golden Gumboot.

The selected finalists are Brandon Sayliss from Taupo, Gus Thomas from Rakaia, Kaleb Foote from Glen Murray, Oscar Smits from Reporoa, Paul Olsen from Manawatu, Peter Damen from Kindred, Australia, Jamie Havill from Ahaura and Rob Ewing from Cape Paterson, Australia.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for these young agri-professionals, as they embark on an all-expenses-paid trip to Fieldays, with the chance to find fame, fortune and love.

This year the competition kicks off with a road trip, with all finalists meeting in Auckland on the morning of Monday 13 June and spending two days completing various challenges and activities to get them in the mood for the real competition. They’ll be hosted by a local NZ Young Farmers club for some agricultural fun and good-natured competition before spending the evening on a farm with a difference at Lavalla Estate in rural Tuakau. Tuesday morning will see the Bachelors transformed into waiters for a fundraising breakfast hosted by the local Rural Women New Zealand Group in support of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

Arriving at Fieldays, the Bachelors will have their skills, attitude and all-round charisma tested in a number of competitive challenges, from speed fencing to blind dating, log splitting to construction. The challenges are largely agricultural-based but will have a few fun twists thrown in to test the character of these rural men.

From Wednesday to Friday there will be four challenges a day, with a winner announced at the official prize giving on the Village Green on Saturday at 12pm. With two titles up for grabs – Rural Bachelor of the Year and People’s Choice – and a prize pool of $20,000, the Bachelors will be putting everything on the line to prove they’ve got what it takes.

Make time in your schedule to catch the Rural Bachelor challenges and check out the hard-working single, rural men representing the farming community.

All bachelor finalists will be kitted out by Swanndri and Skellerup and will get the opportunity to visit Fieldays exhibitors and attend demonstrations.

Meet the Bachelors


Brandon Sayliss

Hailing from Taupo, 24-year-old Brandon Sayliss is a herd manager. His typical day starts at 4am to get the cows in and ends at 5pm. Milking cows, irrigation, setting up paddocks, feeding out, spraying weeds and getting the cows back in are all in a day’s work for Brandon. Brandon reckons stockmanship, animal husbandry and fencing are his top three ag skills. Apart from working hard on farm, Brandon also enjoys playing cricket and rugby, hunting and fishing, going for road trips and bushwalking. His perfect date, should he meet the woman of his dreams, involves playing mini putt golf and going ten pin bowling, followed by a movie and dinner at a good restaurant. “I have a lot to offer and I’d love the opportunity to meet a few rural females and maybe that special someone.”

Visit Brandon's Facebook page


Gus Thomas

31-year-old Angus Thomas is a unit manager from Rakaia who has a Bachelor of Science in Biology. On any given morning, Gus will head to the 80 bail shed and manage the lame and penicillin mobs, before moving on to monitor and advise on progress, treat lame cows or fix fences. In the afternoon, Gus will usually milk and train new staff on how to effectively achieve cow flow, as well as doing any shed maintenance. Gus considers himself a bit of a people person, with his ability to motivate others and pass on his enthusiasm and knowledge as some of his top skills. He’s also appeared on TV as a contestant in The Road to the Young Farmers final. His dream date would involve a trip to an indie cinema, “to watch something thought provoking and challenging and would end with a quiet drink on a beach while the sun sets over the Canterbury coastline.” 

Visit Gus' Facebook page


Kaleb Foote

Kaleb Foote, 21, is currently the intermediate NZ shearing champion. He considers shearing to be his number one skill, followed by tractor driving and all areas of sheep and beef handling. Recently, he was part of the movie MAHANA, as an extra in the shearing scenes. On an average day, Kaleb will drive the shearing gang to work, before knocking out a massive 500 sheep, after which he has a few beers before heading home again to grind shearing gear and have a big homestead graze. Asked to describe his perfect date, Kaleb doesn’t see himself as “Joe romantic or that bothered by the location”, but is just looking for a few laughs and conversation that flows. 

Visit Kaleb's Facebook page


Oscar Smits

28-year-old Oscar Smits from Reporoa considers himself to be a dab hand at anything mechanical, animal husbandry and stock sense. His average day starts with milking the cows, shifting stock, feeding out, fencing, tractor driving and general farm maintenance, before finishing off with a training session at the gym. With an open, friendly nature and good sense of humour, Oscar’s dream date is just one where the conversation is flowing with plenty of laughs. In his spare time, Oscar enjoys mountain biking, going to the beach and keeping fit, as well as being a part of NZ Young Farmers. “I think being in the Rural Bachelor will be another step in the right direction to help me in developing my farming career.”

Visit Oscar's Facebook page

Paul Olsen

Having completed the Kelloggs Rural Leadership Programme and a Nuffield recipient, 35-year-old Paul Olsen of Manawatu is the owner/operator on a potato growing and dry stock farm. Digging and packing potatoes, liaising with different markets and customers, checking on dry stock property, shifting stock and overseeing staff and the movements is all in a day’s work for Paul. Operating machinery followed by fencing and hand picking potatoes are what Paul considers to be his top three agricultural skills. For a bit of R&R, Paul enjoys a few beers at his local, water skiing, socialising with friends, rugby and hunting and fishing. His dream date is “probably a nice summer’s day, scrap together a bit of a picnic and a few cold beers and head to the lake/river for a bit of boating and water skiing.”

 Visit Paul's Facebook page                  

Peter Damen

Hailing from Tasmania, Australian Peter Damen, 25, currently works for his parents who run and own Kindred Organics. An average day for Peter varies between seasons, but on most spring days, Peter would be setting up machinery, inspecting and feeding cattle herds, preparing and dispatching orders, irrigation and maintenance, as well as managing and organising daily staff activities. Peter has also been in a few newspaper and magazine stories talking about rural youth, university, travelling, working abroad and quinoa farming. His ideal date would involve a dirt bike ride out into the bush and a lunch date next to the river, finishing off with a swim. “I really love Kiwi girls and will do my best to drag one back across the ditch.”

 Visit Peter's Facebook page

Rob Ewing

Rob Ewing, 27, is from Cape Paterson on the East Coast of Australia where he currently works as a manager of a 350 head Angus Seed stock production farm, selling 100 bulls a year. Rob starts his morning with a coffee, before jumping on his quad or tractor to feed and check the cattle. After that it’s maintenance of fences, stock work and fixing any issues that he may come across in his cattle checks. Having good relationships with people, a good work ethic and determination and passion are what Rob counts as his best agricultural skills. A perfect date for Rob would involve "lots of laughter and going horse riding up in the bush or along the beach". 

 Visit Rob's Facebook page

Jamie Havill

Coming from Ahaura, 25-year-old Jamie Havill begins his day with a brew and slice of toast before the morning milking. Currently a farm manager at a self-contained dairy farm on the West Coast, his top agri skills include animal husbandry, clarity of thought and pasture management. When he isn’t perusing Facebook or Tinder, he enjoys fishing, jetboating, and Taylor Swift singalongs in his spare time. Jamie’s perfect date would be a late Sunday afternoon lakeside dinner cooked on an open fire with wine, marshmallows and good company. “I cook great omelettes, make coffee, can change a tyre, milk a cow and get by in life without a selfie stick!”

 Visit Jamie's Facebook page

Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year is proudly sponsored by Suzuki, Swanndri, Skellerup, STIHL and CRV Ambreed.


• Rural Bachelor of the Year will win
 o Suzuki King Quad 750 4WD
 o $2,000 Swanndri Voucher
 o $2,000 STIHL Voucher
 o $1,000 Skellerup Voucher
 o Golden Gumboot Trophy







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