Kumeroa School's Rocky Riders scored a commendable fifth out of 21 teams in the National Final of AgriKids held in Invercargill July 7.

To top it off team member Jorja Fountaine was named AgriKidsNZ Competitor of the Year, beating 62 others in the finals.

Agri Kids is a part of New Zealand Young Farmers. In conjunction with the Young Farmer of the Year competition, secondary school students competed in the TeenAg competition, and primary school age kids competed in each of the 7 Regional Finals.

A visit to Bluff the day before the competition.
A visit to Bluff the day before the competition.

There were more entrants in the TeenAg and AgriKids competitions this year than ever. At the regional finals in February at Masterton, Young Farmer entrant Patrick Crawshaw of Dannevirke, TeenAg teams Napier Boys and Dannevirke High School and AgriKids teams Kumeroa Rocky Riders, Ongaonga and Tinui were chosen for Invercargill.

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It was then over to the teams to fundraise and expand on their knowledge.

Kumeroa Rocky Riders was well supported by local business and other locals during their build-up. Everyone was happy to give their time to teach practical skills and provide information for the girls during their busy few months.

Getting gear to fit four tyres on a quad bike.
Getting gear to fit four tyres on a quad bike.

Every Friday afternoon for eight weeks before the Invercargill final the girls were studying.

They put in a huge amount of effort and were keen to perform well in Invercargill.

After days on the side of Pinfold Road, Woodville, selling sunflowers, pinecones and kindling, Lucy Allomes, Lily McLeod and Jorja Fountaine aka The Rocky Riders, representing Kumeroa School, headed for Invercargill and the national final of AgriKids.

Three teams from each region competed in activities to test their practical and theory knowledge. The competition started at 8.30am with 14 teams competing in the TeenAg competition and seven men competing in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest.

Assembling a tape gate.
Assembling a tape gate.

The Rocky Riders day started with the race off against six other teams in their rotation – egg and spoon race, assembling a tape gate, making pancakes and building a scarecrow were among their quick-fire activities in the raceoff.

An exam followed – a 70-minute test of general and farming knowledge.

Just as the cold southerly rain hit, the girls headed outside to complete seven modules.

OSPRI, Beef and Lamb, OnFarm Safety, Honda Motorbikes, Lincoln University Soils, North/South Fuels, and New Holland all sponsored activities that tested practical knowledge.

Lucy's favourite was the practical challenges, because she said they had studied for most of them.

The team marching in the parade to start the event.
The team marching in the parade to start the event.

"The first aid section where we had to treat a real boy for injuries from an accident in the practical challenges was the hardest."

Lily's favourite was the race-off because they had to build things. Jorja's favourite was the interesting modules and the most challenging was the written test.

The girls competed well together, showing how well they had learned from each other and bonded. At the prize-giving the team placed fifth and Tinui, also from the East Coast placed third. Jorja was proud to come fifth.

"In the end it doesn't really matter where you place, just as long as you give it a go, have fun and enjoy yourself."

Jorja was shocked but thrilled to receive the top individual prize. She has two more years in the AgriKids competition but will have to find new team-mates as both Lucy and Lilly are year eights.

"Lucy, Lily and Jorja worked incredibly hard to increase their knowledge and understanding of all facets of agriculture — including using their own time to do this,"

Caroline Transom, Principal of Kumeroa School said. "All of us at Kumeroa School are incredibly proud of how hard they worked and how well they did. We look forward to using this increased knowledge in our Agri curriculum".