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Ploughing aplenty at champs

Sean Leslie (left) and Casey Rae who were Gold and Silver Medallion winners and Overall winners in the Horse Ploughing Championship. PHOTO: Noel Sheat

The New Zealand Ploughing Championships have been labelled a success with "incredible" feedback from the competitors, public and guests.

The championships, held in Thornbury over the weekend,   were hosted by the Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club with four separate classes of competition: Conventional or 'Silver', Reversible, Vintage and Horse.

The winners of the Conventional and Reversible, Ian Woolley and Bob Mehrtens respectively, will now go on to compete at the World Ploughing Championships being held in the USA next year. The Horse class was won by Sean Leslie and Casey Rae, and the Vintage was won by Alistair Rutherford.

Convener Athole Bennie said it was an excellent weekend's competition, with the wet weather from the week before staying away.

"We're very pleased with the weather, it could have been a lot worse."

Mr Bennie said there was a good number of competitors with 37 ploughmen across the four classes, which included 18 horse entries.

"I think we equalled events from previous years, we're very proud of what we did."

The organising committee was also very proud of the feedback it received from the competitors, guests and members of the public, he said.

"The feedback we got was incredible, people said it was one of the best finals they'd been to in many years."

Other activities over the competition included a mystery bus trip, and a ploughing competition between Southland District Mayor Gary Tong, Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks, National MP for Invercargill Sarah Dowie, and Federated Farmers Southland president Allan Baird.

"It was brilliant... they had to draw a straight line."

The well-deserving winner was Sarah Dowie, he said.

"She drove dead straight, it was good."

Mr Bennie said the committee was pleased with its achievements from the championships and wanted to thank people for coming out and supporting the event.

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