Farmers keen to make splash in raft race tradition

By Cherie Taylor

When a drought strikes, farmers head for the water.

This Sunday will see the return of a community tradition to Reporoa with the Reporoa Young Farmers Club Raft Race for Drought Shout 2013. Club chairman Alastair Neville said the raft race was one of the "longest running" annual community raft races in New Zealand. It ran for about 27 years until the previous club went defunct.

It was pretty dry on paddocks at the moment and the race should generate good community spirit in what had been a tough farming season, Mr Neville said.

"This type of event has been done in several other regions before and has been well received.

"Being a community-focused club, we would like to do this for our colleagues, peers, friends, bosses and workers. It's good to give something back at a time like this."

The alcohol-free, life jacket-compulsory race will start on the banks of Ohaaki Marae at Piripiri Rd at 11am and finish at Vaile Rd Reserve, where prizegiving and a barbecue will be held.

Funds raised will go towards the local club putting on a community Drought Shout, consisting of live music, food and refreshments, at the Reporoa Rugby Club on March 23.

"The Reporoa area is currently very dry, and many farmers have opted to start once-a-day milking, instead of twice, to combat low grass-growth rates ... and protect the condition of their herd."

Raft pre-registration is open at $5 per person, or $10 per person from 10am on the day. There will be spot prizes. For more information, or to register, contact Victoria Crafar on (022) 065 2125.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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