Saturday, December 2, 2023

Fieldays win changes Rotorua man’s luck

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Prize ute couldn’t have gone to a more deserving winner, says Fieldays CEO.
Winner Bruce Calkin will be loading up the mountain bikes and heading to the redwoods in his prize ute.
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Rotorua’s Bruce Calkin had been feeling optimistic. He had just finished seven rounds of chemotherapy for throat cancer and was awaiting the news of his results. He never dreamed he would also receive the news from New Zealand National Fieldays Society CEO Peter Nation that he was the winner of a brand-new Isuzu D-Max. 

“You’re bloody kidding me … I can’t believe it,” Calkin said on the phone after realising he wasn’t being scammed. The prize, a white Isuzu D-Max LX Double Cab Auto 4WD, is valued at $61,990 and includes all on-road costs.

“I thought he was having me on,” Calkin said. “It started to sink in when he said that I’d attended Fieldays and scanned my Smart Band to enter the draw to win a ute and that I had won it.”

“It couldn’t have gone to a more deserving winner,” Nation said.  

Calkin, who works for electricity and fibre solutions company Unison based in Rotorua, attended Fieldays with his wife Julie on Saturday December 3.  

The four-day event, which has been running for 54 years, had moved to the summer dates to play catch-up after covid.

“We usually attend Fieldays every year, but covid put a stop to that for a bit,” Calkin said.

“It’s been a pain in my backside really,” Calkin said of covid. “When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had to undergo a pre-treatment and have a tonsillectomy, then Julie got covid, then I got covid. So it all got delayed. I didn’t end up starting treatment until September.”

When they heard Fieldays had moved to the summer dates, the Calkins thought it would be a good opportunity to attend and have a day out. 

“We brought a truckload of beef jerky, some wine and spent time looking at the range of outdoor fires,” Calkin said. “It was good to be back, it’s always such a great event”.  

Collecting a Fieldays Smart Band at the gate, he registered his details and scanned it on the Isuzu site and dropped it into the back of the ute at the end of the day. “Never in a million years did I think I would win it. I have only ever won $100 at Lotto, seems my luck might be changing!”   

Containing innovative RFID technology, the Fieldays Smart Band allowed visitors to connect their details and scan their band to request relevant information from Fieldays exhibitors, enter competitions and claim giveaways. 

Handing over the keys to the ute was Isuzu Utes New Zealand general manager Scott Kelsey.

“The first place I’ll be driving it is around town for everyone to see, stopping in to show it off to family and friends,” Calkin said.

“Then we will head to the redwoods with the bikes on the back. The last year has been pretty brutal, but you know it could be worse and at least I can still get out on the trails.”  

Bruce and Julie are both keen mountain bikers and the new Isuzu will be ideal for transporting their mountain bikes to and from the world-famous trails of the Whakarewarewa Forest. 

“While the latest generation Isuzu D-Max has been on the market for two years now, it remains one of the newest utes on the market with a reputation for being tougher, safer and more powerful than ever thanks to a 3.5t towing capacity, a 5-star ANCAP rating and a new 4JJ3 engine,” Kelsey said.

Adding to the D-Max legacy is the fact it was voted NZ4WD Magazine’s “Ute of the Year” for 2021, the first time this model has won the coveted award and just a year after it was launched in NZ.

The D-Max is powered by a three-litre turbo-diesel engine, and with four variants and 15 configurations, there are plenty of options to suit all drivers. “The workhorse LX which Bruce has won is as ‘ute’ as they come,” Kelsey said.