Finalists announced for premier celebration of rural sports

The finalists have been decided for the Norwood NZ Rural Sports Awards for 2020 on Friday 13 March in Palmerston North.

The finalists are leaders in both traditional rural sports like shearing, fencing, wool handling and dog trials, and newer sports like treeclimbers and for the first time a duck caller has made it through!

“The range of rural sports and the quality of nominees represented this year is fantastic,” says Nathan Twaddle, Convenor of the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards Judging Panel, “it has certainly made the job of the judging panel very difficult, something we take as a healthy sign of the quality of rural sport at the moment.”

“The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards are all about honouring people from young athletes who are just starting, to the lifetime achievers, and those who work away in the background to make sure rural sports survive.”

The finalists are:

Norwood New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year:

  • Tony Bouskill – Fencing – Hawke’s Bay
  • Scott Forrest – Tree Climbing – Kawerau
  • Alan Oldfield – Blade Shearing – Geraldine

Skellerup New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year:

  • Darcell Apelu – Wood Chopping – Mount Maunganui
  • Pagan Karauria – Wool Handling – Alexandra
  • Steph Tweed – Dog Trials – Waipara

Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year:

  • Ritson Galloway – Duck Calling – Manawatu
  • Chris Lord – Wood Chopping – Otarahonga
  • Sarah O’Reilly – Harness Racing – Rakaia

Levno Contribution to Rural Sport:

  • Doug Laing – Shearing – Napier
  • Gemma Oliver – Rodeo – Winchester
  • Sally Mallinson – Sheep Dog Trials – Geraldine

Toyota Lifetime Legacy:

  • Greg Herrick – Shearing – Carterton
  • Ricky May – Harness Racing – Methven
  • Sheree Taylor – Wood Chopping – Te Aroha

With the sad passing of Sir Brian Lochore in 2019, the award named in his honour has been renamed to the Sir Brian Lochore Memorial Award for an Outstanding Sportsperson from a Rural
Background, sponsored by Allflex. The winner of this prestigious award will be announced at the Norwood NZ Rural Sports Awards Dinner on Friday 13 March.

Tim Myers, Chief Executive Officer at Norwood, said rural
sports have been integral to rural life in New Zealand for over 150 years.

“Rural sport provides an opportunity for the community to come together, and an opportunity for those living in rural New Zealand to have off-farm interests,” said Mr Myers.

“Norwood is very proud to be able to highlight the skill, commitment and talent of these competitors and the supporters who ensure rural sports remain strong in New Zealand.”

The judging panel is convened by Olympic rowing medalist Nathan Twaddle. The panel includes rural sports icon and president of Shearing Sports New Zealand Sir David Fagan, Fencing legend Paul van Beers, MP for Taranaki-King Country Barbara Kuriger, founder and trustee of the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games Steve Hollander, and respected agricultural journalists Craig ‘Wiggy’ Wiggins and Tony Leggett.

The Awards Dinner is held on Friday, March 13 at Awapuni Function Centre in Palmerston North, the night before the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North. Tickets can be purchased here:

Speakers at the Awards will be announced in mid-February.

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Finalists announced for premier celebration of rural sports