V8-powered chainsaw monster is 'just a toy'
In a smooth Aussie twang, David Burder shares his philosophy - the man with the biggest toy wins.
It's best not to argue with a man with a V8-powered chainsaw, so it seems, he's right.
For the last 18 months, Burder has morphed a 1979 Holden engine into a loud, proud V8 chainsaw - which he claims to be the only one of its kind in the world.
"In America they have two-man V8 chainsaws but this is the only single-man one in the world as far as I know."
Burder, from the Whitlands in the middle of Victoria, said his beast weighs 330kg and runs on standard 91 octane petrol.
The 1.2m blade can cut through a log half a metre thick in around two seconds. "It makes a lot of noise and a lot of sawdust," he said.
He admitted it would be impractical to market, and simply made the monster for fun.
"It's just a toy, but I'm born of the opinion he who has the best toy wins."
The chainsaw was shipped over from Australia in time for Fieldays, which opens today at Mystery Creek.
Burder will give demonstrations of the chainsaw on his Whitlands Engineering site, at G99, every day at Fieldays. He was among exhibitors setting up in the poor weather yesterday.
Rain - with heavy falls - and easterlies are forecast for Hamilton for today and tomorrow, and the Waikato was included in a severe weather watch by MetService.
Last night the eastern Waikato was under a severe weather warning with strong winds of up to 120km an hour expected. However, the sun should reappear on Friday and Saturday.
The rain couldn't dampen the mood of hardy Fieldays exhibitors yesterday.
New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays founding member Russ Rimmington said wet days were "bloody great" because exhibitors got genuine buyers.
"Over the years as an exhibitor and in the administration side, we have found that the wet days - hand on heart - to be fantastic. That's when the good sales are done."
Poor weather might mean lower attendance because tyre kickers stayed home, but he knew exhibitors that had achieved some of their best sale figures on that kind of day. Rimmington hasn't missed a Fieldays for 47 years.
Good George Brewing director Jason Macklow was taking a "put your bloody gumboots on, harden up" approach.
The rain added to the mission of finishing off their three sites - forcing them to think of how to cover the outdoor one - but it was warm and not too windy, he said.
Macklow didn't see it putting a dampener on the event or affecting turnout at their bar in the Kiwi's Best Kitchen.
"From my experience, if people want to have a good beer then they'll have a good beer - rain or shine."
Although Robyn Greer's stall is inside, the director of Waihi-based Woodzgood Design was prepared with a long air force raincoat and beanie for setting up.
"Some of the city dwellers might be put off. Some of them may not even possess a pair of gumboots . . . but I don't think it will deter the farming community."
And former Fieldays president Lloyd Downing said farmers were used to working in all weathers.
"It affects our [Fieldays] bottom line more than the exhibitors. If we're 10,000 down in people, that's worth about $250,000 to us, but those people that don't go because it's raining aren't going to buy a lot of product anyway."
But fine weather is forecast for Friday - traditionally the biggest day at Fieldays.
Hamilton accommodation is packed and some corporates booked for the next year before they left, moteliers said. They also tended to hit the restaurants at night to meet with clients or unwind.
And steaks were expected to be a top seller by Hamilton's two main hospitality groups. Macklow said around 250kg of steak would be sold at the Phoenix Group's Smith & McKenzie Chophouse during Fieldays.
The Lawrenson Group's Bluestone Steakhouse was already packed last night with 70 bookings, chief executive John Lawrenson said.
"[Fieldays] equates to our largest week of the year, turnover-wise across the group so we're just looking forward to getting into it."
Some of the group's restaurants might see a 60 to 70 per cent increase, he said.
Fieldays communications executive Vicki Annison said about 900 exhibitors were spread across 1300 sites this year - and those were booked out from December. The largest exhibitor for 2014 was thought to be Palmerston North C B Norwood Distributors Ltd, which had 11 sites under separate brands.
Visitors were also expected from 37 countries, including Ecuador, Malaysia and Canada.
FIELDAYS AT A GLANCE
Today's weather forecast: Rain, heavy at times. Strong easterlies easing.
9.30am, introduction to the Rural Bachelors, Village Green
Noon, opening ceremony, Village Green
11.45am, Waikato rescue helicopter winching demo, demonstration area
2.30pm, Rural bachelor heat - cooking Kiwi's Best Kitchen, theatre
All day, national fencing championships, Bill Schuler novice final, river end of M Road.