Boys from the farm turn on the charm

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014
rural bach
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ANSWER CAREFULLY: Michael Paton, left, Jimmy Bentham, Josh Gilbert, Brett Steeghs, Thomas Denham field questions from the audience.

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Fieldays' rural bachelor contestants have done the hard yards in the leadup to their event.

The eight eligible blokes chased sheep, shot clay targets, and went zorbing on their journey from Auckland to Mystery Creek.

And the action continued yesterday, with fencing, speed-dating and cooking.

Yesterday morning they faced questions from Waikato women.

It seems ladies into a romantic but rural first anniversary picnic would be a good match with Wanganui's Fraser Laird, 26. "I've got some back paddocks at the back of the farm. It's got a bloody good view. Serious," he said.

And how would they get there?

On the back of the ute.

Morrinsville's Jeff Peek, 30, is one of the older competitors but plans to give the others a run for their money.

"Obviously I'm a competitive man. I want to win it," he said.

It wasn't his only motivation, though.

"I've been single for a while, so what better way to meet a new girl than with a bit of free advertising?"

Lone South Islander Thomas Denham from Hari Hari is defending the mainland's reputation, and the other outnumbered man is Australian Josh Gilbert.

But if his worst habit is what he claimed - "I work really hard" - the ladies won't have much to complain about.

The speed-dating heat came with non-stop chatter and some of the boys apparently taking notes - or phone numbers.

South Islander Denham said he scored a few, despite the nerves before his first taste of speed dating.

"I just winged it," he said.

"On the West Coast you don't ever meet girls, so it's a big thing for me to be up here and get to meet some people. So this is great," he said.

But he had carefully considered questions, including whether the ladies would be willing to relocate for the right guy.

The boys finished the day in the Kiwi's Best Kitchen making halloumi cheese, with pots boiling over and whey splashing close to photographers and smart phones.

Norsewood's Michael Paton looked nervous in the kitchen, but beat the competition with a salty, flavoursome product in 12 minutes and 35 seconds.

The man making sure the bachelors are in the right place at the right time this week is volunteer and chaperone Frank Sargent.

But the boys also keep him on his toes by snapping a shot of him yesterday morning when he fell asleep.

"I've got to watch myself, alright."

And while many single Waikato women might be keen on judging the competition, all three places are filled.

Confidence and the way the boys interacted with people throughout the day would be factored into the judging, as well as their performance in the heats, first-time judge Kiera Jacobson from Rural Women New Zealand said.

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"Last year [in a heat] I saw a bit of them them having to pour beer or wine from an excavator into a glass. . . I think there's surprises around every corner for them."

- Waikato Times

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