Wednesday, 18 October 2023 13:35

Ford goes full throttle for rural sports

Written by  Staff Reporters
Reuben Alabaster, 2023 Youth Award Winner, receiving a handshake from Kieran McAnulty with Fonterra representative Luke McKee in the background. Reuben Alabaster, 2023 Youth Award Winner, receiving a handshake from Kieran McAnulty with Fonterra representative Luke McKee in the background.

Palmerston North is set to rumble with the power and excitement of rural sports this coming March, as Ford New Zealand takes pole position as the naming rights sponsor of the illustrious Ford New Zealand Rural Sports Awards.

The partnership builds on Ford’s four-year legacy as the title sponsor for the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games. Other companies joining as sponsors include Freebairn & Hehir Lawyers, Hunting & Fishing and Rural News.

“We’re revved up to have Ford deepen its relationship through our events that celebrate and champion the titans of rural sports,” said the founder of the New Zealand Rural Games Trust, Steve Hollander. “Ford has been synonymous with rural New Zealand since 1936, and today, the Ford Ranger is the top-selling vehicle in the country.”

Ford New Zealand Managing Director Simon Rutherford said he didn’t hesitate to jump at the opportunity to accelerate their collaboration with rural sport.

“The Ford New Zealand Rural Sports Awards is the perfect platform to honour extraordinary athletes who have represented New Zealand on the world stage. The awards also highlight the dedication of the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes, keeping our rich rural sporting heritage alive.”

New Pit Crew Member Alert: Paul Allison MNZM has been appointed the Convenor of Judges. He is no stranger to competing and judging. He represented New Zealand in the Marathon and Otago in three sports. A Life Trustee of the Halberg Disability Foundation, he has served on both Sport New Zealand and the NZ Masters Games boards.

Megan Whitehead FBTW

2023 Rural Sportswoman of the Year Megan Whitehead.

Calling all rural athletes: Unleash your potential: Nominations are open to rural sports associations, including wood-chopping, shearing, horse-riding, tree-climbing, shooting, rodeo, harness racing, highland heavies, gumboot throwing and fencing. The award categories are:

  • The PTS Logistics New Zealand Rural Sportsman of the Year Award
  • The New Zealand Rural Sportswoman of the Year Award
  • The Fonterra Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year Award
  • The Freebairn & Hehir Lawyers Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rural Sports Award
  • The Courtesy Ford Lifetime Legacy Award
  • Future Post Rural Sportsperson with a Disability

Two other awards will be announced on the night; they are:

  • The Sir Brian Lochore Memorial Award for Outstanding Sportsperson from a Rural Background – finalists and the winner are announced on the night of the awards.
  • The Ford Supreme New Zealand Rural Sportsperson Award – judges select one overall winner to go home with the Supreme Award.

Nominations close on 23 January 2024, and finalists will be announced in February 2024. Nominations can be made here.

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