Fieldays is going virtual this year — will it be a flop? Mark Daniel looks into the controversial event.
The competition is a fan favourite at Fieldays each year, and 2015 will not disappoint say organisers.
Single, rural men wanting to apply to enter the competition will face a range of challenges over the Fieldays week in an effort to be crowned Rural Bachelor and walk away with $20,000 worth of prizes.
"The eight lucky bachelor finalists will receive an all-expenses-paid trip, starting in a mystery location and racing from there to Fieldays, facing various challenges along the way," says event manager, Waimarie Taimai.
Once at Fieldays, contestants will need to excel in different heats, from farm work and fitness to demonstrating flare in the kitchen, to determine which of the men will walk away the winner.
Sovereign signed on as major sponsor for this year's event to provide a unique opportunity for young Kiwi farmers to improve their wellbeing.
"It's not just about meeting new people, it's about getting outside your comfort zone and challenging yourself to try new things, which can have a positive impact on all parts of your life," says Sovereign's chief marketing and innovation officer Chris Lamers.
Last year's winner, Jeff Peek, says receiving Rural Bachelor of the Year in 2014 was "undoubtedly one of the greatest experiences of my life".
"It was an awesome week with a bunch of like-minded guys, a healthy bit of competition, and so many awesome people along the way to meet," says Peek.
"It doesn't matter where I go now, someone recognises me or knows of my win and it's always a conversation starter!"
Peek says winning the competition has opened doors for him in many ways.
"The dairy industry, albeit a big industry, is still very small in New Zealand and [participating in Rural Bachelor] has put opportunities for employment and career progression in front of me that I may not have otherwise been offered."
Asked if he would do it again, Peek grins and says he would have to speak with his girlfriend about that, "but I wouldn't hesitate to tell anyone to go for it and have a crack!"
Fieldays is looking for eight finalists from New Zealand and Australia, over 21 years of age and employed in the rural industry. Entries close April 17, 2015. All entrants must be able to participate in the entire competition.
Visit fieldays.co.nz for more information.
NZ National Fieldays is on at Mystery Creek from 10 – 13 June this year.