Vintage performances in Taieri Ploughing Match

John Wild competes in the vintage section of the Taieri Ploughing Match in Mosgiel yesterday....
John Wild competes in the vintage section of the Taieri Ploughing Match in Mosgiel yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
When John Wild is competing in an intense vintage ploughing event, all life's troubles fall from his shoulders.

"I'm a fanatic," Mr Wild (68), of the Thornbury Vintage Tractor Club, says with a glint in his eye.

Mr Wild once ran his own ploughing contracting business, employing six people, in Otautau.

Now based in Invercargill, he was back in competitive action again yesterday in his 1955 Nuffield DM4 tractor in the vintage section of the annual Taieri Ploughing Match in Mosgiel.

He has strong family history in ploughing, having started at the age of 12.

He still works full-time during the ploughing season: September to April, and still loves the competitive ploughing.

"Camaraderie is a big thing - everybody's willing to help."

Fifty-six years after starting, he's still trying to improve.

"I enjoy working with the machinery and it's all a challenge."

He has driven on not only by his love of competitive ploughing but by the high quality of his fellow competitors.

"You try to equal them or better them - it's competitive."

"The aim is to get it [the furrow] as straight as possible," Mr Wild said.

Concentration is a key, and he's getting better at watching the details.

A small slip at the end of a furrow can cost competitors, and that's something he's got better avoiding over the years.

His tractor was made in 1955 but was still useful for precision ploughing. He did not win his match section this year, but his orange Nuffield won "tidiest outfit".

Taieri Ploughing Match Association president Murray Grainger said the event had attracted 16 competitors, and had been a "big success".

Reorganising when the lunch break was held and computerising the results for the first time meant there was "not so much wasted time", he said.


Silver plough class, Mark Dillon, 1, 187.5 points; Scott McKenzie, 2, 175.5; Murray Baird, 3, 186.5; Vintage, Graeme Anderson, 1, 156 points; Murray Grainger, 2, 145; Alister Rutherford, 3, 137; Classic: Colin Hitchcock, 1, 110.5; Owen Anderson, 2, 104, Len Balneaves, 3, 100.3; Novice, Tim Hastie, 1; Champion ploughman, Mark Dillon; runner-up to champion, Scott McKenzie; Best crown, Mark Dillon; Best finish, Mark Dillon; Oldest ploughman, Alister Rutherford; Youngest ploughman, Paul Kowalewski.

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