Yogis, a self-confessed tractor lover and a hitchhiker are among eight rural blokes in the running to win a coveted Golden Gumboot.

The title of Fieldays Rural Bachelor 2017 will be taken out by one young, skilled and single farmer this week.

Hosted at Hamilton's Mystery Creek, the competition forms a part of National Agricultural Fieldays' three-day event.

The Rural Bachelor finalists hail from all ends of the country, with one international addition from across the ditch.

The men, aged between 23-31, will showcase their skills in daily heats of agricultural competitions and activities.

The group met on Sunday in Auckland, to embark on an all-expenses-paid road trip completing challenges and visiting rural communities along the way.

Up for grabs is the esteemed title of Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year, the Golden Gumboot trophy, and an impressive prize pool.

Meet Fieldays Rural Bachelor 2017 finalists:

• Kenneth Veen, WAIKATO

It's a family affair for Kenneth Veen, whose mum has been teaching him how to roast veggies, and dad who's "a living Youtube tutorial".

Veen, 31, works on his parent's Waikato dairy farm with his brother.


He signed up to Fielday's Rural Bachelor competition as he's "going through a bit of a crossroads" in his life.

Kenneth Veen
Kenneth Veen

"I thought it would be a good thing to do, but I'm pretty nervous."

Veen said he was relying on his mental abilities rather than his practical.

"When they asked me to list my top agricultural skills I said 'grit'. I went for personality traits rather than skills."

When he's not in the milking shed, you'll find him sweating it out at yoga.

"I do bikram yoga three times a week, which is funny because I'm just the most inflexible person."

The farmer was keen to find himself a bachelorette.

"That would be like a first prize, but that sounds so cheesy."


• Matthew McAtamney, SOUTH CANTERBURY

Matthew McAtemney
Matthew McAtemney

It's second time lucky for Fairlie's Matthew McAtamney, who applied last year to win Fieldays' Golden Gumboot but didn't make the cut.

The 26-year-old beef and deer farmer said he took another stab at it this year, with his parent's blessing.

"They reckon it's classic, they love it."

McAtamney spends his days feeding animals, velveting, weighing stock, fencing and drenching.

He said he worked in mines in Calgary in his early twenties, but always knew he would end up farming.

McAtamney hopes his competitive streak will help him.

"I'm not going there to get second."

His ideal date would be "wining and dining" a woman in the mustering hut at the back of the station.

He's a farmer who can cook, too: "I make a good Indian curry and stir fry".

• Sean Richardson, TARANAKI

Sean Richardson
Sean Richardson

Dairy farmer Sean Richardson, better known as 'Tractor', feels his chances of winning the title are "as good as anyone else's".

"A few mates and I had had the idea, and I thought it would be a bit of fun."

Richardson, 32, said the nickname Tractor was coined at boarding school.

"I've loved them since I was a little boy. I used to mow the lawns at boarding school on the tractor and the name just stuck."

Fittingly, he's feeling most confident about challenges involving driving machinery.

The 32-year-old said he's keen to meet a woman who understands the hardships of farming.

"Farming is hard on people sometimes, we can't get off to go out at certain times of the year."


Ross McCulloch
Ross McCulloch

Ross McCulloch, 27, comes from a long line of sheep farmers-- 118 years-worth to be exact.

He works on the family farm he grew up on, an expert stockman.

But a serious quadbike accident saw McCulloch take a year off farming.

"I had the accident a couple of years ago and smashed my skull...I fell off the back pig hunting," he said.

"There's 17 screws holding everything in place... It makes you pretty grateful that you're still alive and kicking."

McCulloch's parents were "pretty excited" their son had been selected as a finalist.

"They said: 'You might find yourself a bloody bird'."

McCulloch's ideal date would be taking a woman out for a pig hunt.

"If she doesn't want to come she could sit and read a book for a while, but I'd talk her round it... We'd go for a soak in the hot pools, then have a feed at the pub."

McCulloch's dogs Patch and Snatch would have to give a bachelorette their lick of approval.

"She might be out the gate if not."

• Scott McKenzie, AUCKLAND

Scott MacKenzie from Helensville, Auckland, teaches yoga in his spare time. Photo / Supplied
Scott MacKenzie from Helensville, Auckland, teaches yoga in his spare time. Photo / Supplied

Helensville's Scott McKenzie, 29, said it was the idea of putting himself out there in a new environment that attracted him to apply.

"It's a new challenge, and a week off work sounds quite good too."

The stock manager and sheep and beef farmer said he was confident in his teaching, communication and animal husbandry skills.

By day he musters sheep and cattle, deals with contractors and works on animal health plans.

In his spare time he hunts, fishes and teaches yoga at a Helensville rugby club.

It's "people from all walks of life" who turn up to his classes, McKenzie said.

The 29-year-old spent Summer 2015 hitchhiking around New Zealand.

"You see parts of New Zealand most people don't see... The best place was East Coast in the North-- you're picked up not as a hitchhiker but as a person."

McKenzie, who calls himself a jack of all trades, said he's keen to put his best foot forward this week.

• Jason Clotworthy, NORTHLAND

Jason Clotworthy
Jason Clotworthy

Jason Clotworthy is no stranger to competition, he made the regional finals of New Zealand's Young Farmer of the Year in 2015.

But it was peer pressure this time round that prompted the 23-year-old to enter Fieldays Rural Bachelor.

"My friends sort of said I'd be perfect for the competition because I'm single and farmer-ish."

The agricultural contractor, who's confident in his fencing and machinery operating skills, said the competition will definitely test him.

"It's really just going to throw me out of my comfort zone... Especially public speaking."

The Kerikeri farmer added any cooking challenges the contestants may face "could be interesting".

"I'm not sure judges will enjoy my cooking... It's usually steak and greens."

Clotworthy has taken a laid-back approach to the competition.

"I'm just going to show up, real casual. I haven't really read too many of the documents they've sent."

Preparation wise, turning up to work was enough, he said.

• Joshua Rushton, CANTERBURY

Joshua Rushton
Joshua Rushton

Ashburton's Joshua Rushton, 29, has the backing of a previous Rural Bachelor title winner.

"I actually got nominated by Toby How, who won in 2015. He lives up the road from me and thought I could give it a good crack."

The operations manager for dairy support and cropping's day starts at 6am, and he's on the road to the farm by 6.30am.

"There's a few breaks to move and cattle before I start doing my day job for rural contracting."

Rushton's confident with "the stock side of things" and machinery heading into the competition.

In Summer, he manages a team of 20 straw, silage and hay baling contractors.

He said he was keen to meet other farmers from across the country.

"I think that's what it's about, meeting people from similar backgrounds. It looks like it will be a pretty full on week."

When Rushton isn't at work, he likes to spend his free time in the sky.

"I do a bit of helicopter flying when I have time to...It's just the freedom of it, it's a really cool hobby."

• Gordon Mill, QUEENSLAND

Gordon Mill
Gordon Mill

Mill is the only Aussie in the running to take the title of Rural Bachelor 2017, but he's not too concerned

"I think it gives me more of an advantage really. I'm the lone foreigner, so I've got that intrigue and exotic aspect."

The 25-year-old works as a head stockman in Moura, a small town in far north Queensland.

Depending on whether he's mustering or not, "brekkie's at 5.30am".

He's handy with a quad bike, and feels his independence could give him an edge.

"A lot of work which I do out here I mostly work on a quad bike. You sort of have to be able to do everything up here because you're usually so isolated you can't really call anyone for help."

As for his bachelor status, he attributes it to his remote location.

"There's absolutely no girls where I am. Anywhere where you're out bush there's no girls at all. If there are girls they're very quick to get snapped up by other blokes."

• Fieldays Rural Bachelor winner 2016

Last years winner of Rural Bachelor of the Year Paul Olsen
Last years winner of Rural Bachelor of the Year Paul Olsen

Fieldays Rural Bachelor winner 2016 Paul Olsen, 35, was snapped up within weeks following his win.

The Opiki potato farmer, who also works with drystock and in dairy farming, said he has "a great girlfriend now".

"I met her shortly after the competition just through mutual friends... She's in the rural, agricultural industry, so we've got common interests and common goals," he said.

"We're not living together at the moment, but we'll just see how things go."

Olsen added his Golden Gumboot wasn't on full display at home-- it's tucked away in his office.

"I'm not that brave to have it out... A few of my mates would probably give me s*** for it."

The spud farmer said he entered the competition as the oldest finalist as it "looked like a bit of fun".

He advised 2017 competitors to come in with an open mind and give it 100 per cent.