Burnham shooter moves through to national final
by Kent Caddick
Selwyn dairy farmer Martin Bates has taken out the New Zealand Young Farmers Tasman clay target shooting competition to qualify for the national finals early next year.
Mr Bates, who contract milks 1,200 cows at Burnham and is a member of Dunsandel Young Farmers, said heading into the competition, held at the North Canterbury Clay Target Association’s range at Fernside near Rangiora, he was feeling a “bit rusty”.
However, it didn’t stop the 29-year-old from taking out the Tasman regional clay target shooting title.
“It was great to blow out a few cobwebs. Coming away with a win was a bit of a shock to the system, it’s probably been about three years since I last swung a gun at a few clay targets.” he said.
The win advances Bates and second place-getter, Lincoln University student Cam Lowery, through to the national final.
Next year the finals of the NZ Young Farmers competitions will take place at conference week in February. The new-look event is being held in Christchurch, meaning the pair won’t have far to travel.
“I reckon the changes are a good thing as previously those events were held alongside the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.
“It meant that if you were competing, you didn’t get to see much of grand final. Now people can attend both events,” he said.
The New Zealand Young Farmers Tasman Region held its clay target shooting, fencing, stock judging and debating competitions during two days of competition.
“We had a great turnout for the shooting,” Bates said.
“There was a nice mix of experienced sports shooters as well as first-timers who were keen to have a go and learn.”
The Mycoplasma bovis outbreak meant alpacas replaced cattle in the stock judging competition.
Braydon Schroder from Lincoln took out that event and is set to represent the region at the national final along with Laura McQuillan-Reese from Amberley.
Peter O’Connor from Westport and Philippa Mee (Lincoln) won the fencing competition, while the Lincoln team took out the debating title.