Tractor racing is one of the big drawcards at Fieldays and at last year’s event drivers were not only racing for the title, they were also moving mud to help the Rural Support Trust.
In February, New Zealand National Fieldays Society CEO Peter Nation handed over a cheque for $4500 to the Rural Support Trust’s chair, Neil Bateup.
“Mental health is a big area of concern in rural communities and people often don’t know where or who to turn to when things get tough. The work that the Rural Support Trust does is vital,” said Nation.
“Also, given what rural communities have had to endure this past week with the weather makes what the work Neil and his team do so important”.
The money was raised through a first-ever at Fieldays, the Tractor Racing Experience supported by Ag Drive, who quickly stepped in and modified the much-loved annual tractor pull competition, offering visitors the opportunity to get behind the wheels of one of two identical tractors.
Without the efforts from Andre Syben and his team of skilled instructors, this event would have not happened.
Fieldays visitors were able to sit alongside Ag Drive instructors and the hardcore competitors’ times were tallied, with the fastest participant’s time crowning them the day’s winner.
“It’s not hard to have fun when you’re behind the wheel of a 200hpCase IH tractor racing your mates,” said Nation.
“The Ag Drive team were amazing; they gave their time and expertise and it was a real thrill for people to get this opportunity”.
Rural Support Trust is a not-for-profit network of regional trusts that provides free and confidential assistance to rural people facing challenges in everyday rural life. It is made up of farmers and others with a good understanding of rural life and its many stressors around health and wellbeing, finances, animal welfare, employment and adverse events.
“It is great to be able to make a donation to the Rural Support Trust. But we also want to start conversations about rural life, which is an important part of Fieldays providing an event for farmers to take a break and get off the farm,” Nation said.
Fieldays organisers also provided the Rural Support Trust with a site in the Hauora Taiwhenua Health and Wellbeing Hub, giving visitors the opportunity to stop by and chat with the trusts co-ordinators.
“There’s real value in having people on the ground, getting in front of our farmers and sharing experiences,” Nation said.
Fieldays is returning to its traditional winter dates in June 14-17.