New faces add spice to contest

New faces are adding spice to the Young Farmer competition after regional finalists have been narrowed down for the Tasman and Aorangi events.

Tasman finalists will come together in Lincoln on February 19 and Aorangi’s a week later in Fairlie to find district finalists.

In the preliminary stages of the Tasman contest 37 young men and women were reduced to eight finalists. They are Archie Woodhouse, Phoebe Smailes, Andrew Allan, Jonny Brown, Ash Foley, Sam Smithers, George Dodson and Blair Anglesey.

Smailes (19) is a first-time competitor expected to give some of the older contestants a run for their money after coming runner-up.

She became the youngest female to win a New Zealand open class dog trial as a 14-year-old.

The top eight Aorangi competitors are Peter O’Connor, Hugh Jackson, Lachlan Angland, Jess Cunliffe, Alice Perry, Tom Adkins, James Hurst and Daniel Durdle.

Perry is another standout as a new mother and casual shepherd who qualified fourth in the Aorangi south section.

The 29-year-old has raced in the World Triathlon Championships and has run up the Auckland Sky Tower as part of the Firefighter Stair Climb fundraiser.

‘‘I love to be busy and give most things ago including triathlon, horse riding, sled-dog racing, volunteer firefighting — you name it, I’ve probably tried it,’’ she said.

The grand finals will be held in July.

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