More than 40,000 people turned out to experience all things rural

Thousands of people turned out to enjoy country fun, as sheep, wood chopping and hay bales took over the Square in central Palmerston North.
About 42,000 people gathered to enjoy the Rural Games this weekend to watch competitors go head-to-head in tests of skill encompassing everything from fencing to shearing.

Founder Steve Hollander said it had been a fantastic weekend, with lots of record-breaking efforts and community participation.

We are blessed to have had the opportunity to have beaten Covid-19 and the weather has been sensational.


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DAVID UNWIN/Stuff
Paul Evans from Whanganui with his trusty dog Trump.

Public participation had been a great success, and Hollander said there had been consistent lines of children wanting to climb trees or drive a tractor.

Hollander said he was proud the event had raised the $1.2 million needed to go ahead with no entry fees.

Thats a big plus, that there is no barrier to brharapg as many kids along.

He said 420 teenagers turned out for the Agri Futures careers day, with 240 participating in the Clash of the Colleges.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff
Gale Wilson-Green, 7, has a go on a miniature digger.

Those kids are the future. Its exciting to think that we have got a day and a half of competitions aimed a secondary school youth.

All the councils in the region had financially supported the event, which was a big help, except the Rangitkei District Council.

Rural Games Trust chairwoman Margaret Kouvelis said the games were about exposing urban people to the world of rural.

And this is a fun way to do it. Agriculture is the backbone of this region.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff
Richard Jack from Christchurch competes in the gumboot throwing competition.

Christchurch gumboot thrower Richard Jack had only been throwing gumboots for three years.

A spur-of-the-moment decision to give it a go at the AMP show in Christchurch, with a seventh place result, was the beginning of the end.

In the lead-up to the games he could be found in the local park, with his tape measure and red bands.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff
Tangaroa Walker races to stack hay bales.

People look at you weird[ly] at the park throwing gumboots. People come up to me, and before you know it they are giving it a throw.

People really love it, but it's an obscure thing to do.

He said there were a few successful techniques, including throwing the heel first and gripping it like a sack of potatoes.

They are definitely not designed to fly, but they have a bit of a wing shape, and you can get a lift on them.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff
Hikurangi Wallace, 1, sits on a tractor with his koro Malcolm Wallace.

Alma Wallace from taki was at the games on Saturday, with her 1-year-old grandson Hikurangi.

Its a great day out, there is so much happening. He is loving it.

She competed in the Stihl Timbersports series on Friday, having a go at wood chopping with a single saw, chainsaw and axe.

Wallace competed for New Zealand for 20 years, and came out after five years of retirement to give it another go. She came fourth.

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