He may have taken his bike to the world stage but the surprise on the face of Hawera's Mike Reader spoke volumes when he was named South Taranaki's top sportsman last night.
BMX proponent Reader won both the overall prize and senior sportsperson trophies at the 2012 Paddy Manu Jr Memorial awards, held in front of nearly 200 guests at the TSB Hub.
Reader struggled for words as he accepted each trophy in turn.
"I didn't prepare a speech because, well, the ‘Golden One'," he said, referring to the nickname of fellow nominee - Taranaki's Ranfurly Shield hero Beauden Barrett.
"I thought it was a little unfair to be against an All Black."
Reader rode for New Zealand at the World Championships in Birmingham in the United Kingdom in June, finishing seventh in the 30-years plus men's division.
He also won the NZBMX national title in the 20-inch tyre class for 30 plus years and was first in the NZBMX national series for males 30-34 in the cruiser tyre class.
Reader said he was pleased the awards did recognise the efforts of sports people in lesser-known codes.
Stratford equestrian Josh Robins, 16, picked up the junior award for the second year running, after being the top national youth in western riding and part of the New Zealand team which came third at the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup.
It was also a repeat for the Opunake High School squad who once again took out the team award. After settling for previous runnerup placings in the Secondary Schools Hillary Challenge, Opunake finally went one better in 2012 to claim the trophy.
Taranaki Tennis chairman Andrew Baylis, so instrumental helping Hawera host the Davis Cup, was recognised with the volunteer award.
For taking the Taranaki Country Basketball U13 Girls team through to fourth at national level, their best ever placing, Paul Healey and Darrin Hohaia were jointly recognised with the coach award.
The night also proved memorable for veteran amateur wrestling coach Graham Campbell, who received a special award for his years of service to his Alton club as well as being race organiser for the Rotorangi Gutbuster multisport event.
Paddy Manu Award recipients: Overall, Mike Reader. Senior, Mike Reader. Junior, Josh Robins. Coach, Paul Healey and Darrin Hohaia. Volunteer, Andrew Baylis. Special award, Graham Campbell.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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