Town to get a taste of country

By Laurel Stowell

Townies - stand by for some country action coming your way in Whanganui on Waitangi Day.

There'll be sheep races, dog trials, a fencing competition and a wild food barbecue at Cooks Gardens that afternoon, organised by the Wanganui Young Farmers' Club and Wanganui Events Trust.

At midday, New Zealand singer Shane, famous for his 1969 hit St Paul, is giving a concert at Majestic Square.

Then people will be invited to head down Maria Pl, passing a display of vintage farm machinery on the way, and pay an entrance fee at Cooks Gardens for the afternoon event Country Comes to Town.

It's timed to happen on a day off for Masters Games competitors, and a public holiday.

Farmers Fraser and Steven Laird, from a sheep, beef, dairy and cropping farm at Fordell, are helping organise the event.

They are hoping it will interest city people who have little experience with rural life.

The people who attend won't be sitting in the grandstand watching, they'll be down among the action and able to compete in traditional sports such as sack racing and gumboot throwing.

David Cone will be on hand to race his famous Baa Black sheep five times during the afternoon.

Contractor Steve McDonald will do some shearing and dogs will pilot groups of wily sheep down the hill from the clock tower and into pens on the game oval.

The afternoon will be especially good for families and international guests, the young farmers said.

They are trying to promote the rural lifestyle, believing that many town people don't get the opportunity to see activities such as dog trialing.

Sponsorship is being sought for prizes and expenses, and any money raised goes to the Young Farmers' Club.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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