Meet the finalists of Fieldays Rural Catch

Four men and four women from around the country have been named as the 2018 Fieldays Rural Catch finalists, vying for the coveted Golden Gumboot and an impressive prize pool.

Fieldays Rural Catch, formerly known as the Rural Bachelor competition, has been a popular fixture on the Fieldays calendar for 13 years where eight talented rural competitors from around New Zealand and Australia have had the opportunity to test their skills both on and off the farm to find the ultimate champion.

Lynn Robinson, Fieldays Rural Catch Event Manager is impressed with the applicants this year, “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!” says Robinson.

2018 Fieldays Rural Catch finalists

Contestant #1 is Ben Fisher, a DairyNZ Farm Manager based in Ohaupo who is passionate about the rural sector and animal welfare and whose ideal date involves a nice dinner with good chat then home to watch a movie and relax.

Contestant #2 is fiery redhead and former Gumboot Girl, Eira Lloyd-Forrest of Geraldine, who is passionate about animal health and supporting the agricultural industry and is looking for an honest, caring and hard-working farming guy who can make her laugh.

Contestant #3 is Berny Hall, a Dairy Farmer from New Plymouth, who isn’t afraid to put himself out there and have a bit of fun and is looking for someone loyal, passionate, supportive and encouraging.

You’ll hear Contestant #4 before you see her, she is trainee helicopter pilot and drystock farmer Lilly Newton based in Urenui. Lilly is outgoing, loves a good yarn, is caring and thoughtful towards animals and passionate about women in male dominated careers.

Contestant #5 is Mairi Whittle, a former rural bank manager currently working as a Shepherd on a sheep and beef farm east of Taihape. She would love to find someone funny, sporty, who gets along with her friends and is loyal and respectful to share her amazing lifestyle with.

Contestant #6 is agricultural machine operator Mat Hilhorst of Atiamuri near Taupo. Mat loves a good laugh, enjoys being outdoors and his ideal date would involve doing something adventurous, having dinner and drinks then cutting some shapes on the dancefloor.

Contestant #7 is Renae Flett of Palmerston North. A sole contract milker passionate about animal health and pasture management and whose ideal date would be something simple like a picnic overlooking a nice farm view.

Contestant #8 is Dairy Farm Manager Sam Hughson based out of Hawera. Sam enjoys working with cows and machinery and seeing the land develop and is looking for someone with a good sense of humour and willing to try new experiences, who has a positive mindset and appreciates the rural lifestyle.

Not only are the finalists a catch for any potential love interest but their rural skills and knowledge of agricultural business makes them a catch for any employer, business partner and the wider ag-industry.

The all-expenses paid competition starts for the Rural Catch finalists on Sunday 10 June with the Farmlands Roadtrip which gives the contestants the chance to get to know each other and try their hand at various challenges before the serious stuff begins on the first day of Fieldays, Wednesday 13 June.

This year the competition will feature the traditional challenges such as fencing, quad bike skills and dog handling as well as challenges involving tractors and cooking – but with a twist!

The popular ‘fittest farmer’ challenge, introduced last year, testing finalist’s strength and fitness will feature again this year.

The finalist’s financial skills will also be tested in a ‘nail your numbers’ challenge thanks to Fieldays partner Xero.

The Fieldays Rural Catch winner walks away with the coveted ‘Golden Gumboot’ trophy as well as an impressive $20,000 prize pool thanks to sponsors Farmlands, Swandri, Suzuki, Skellerup and STIHL.

Fieldays Rural Catch is proudly partnered by Farmlands Co-operative.

Find out more about the Fieldays Rural Catch finalists at

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