Hawke's Bay kept a stranglehold on the national Rural Sportsman of the Year title with a win by farm fencer Tony Bouskill at the third annual rural sports awards in Palmerston North.

The presentation was made to the 28-year-old Napier man at the third annual Norwood awards on Friday night, ahead of the fifth Hilux New Zealand Rural Games over the weekend.

The presentation was made by inaugural winner and Maraekakaho shearer Rowland Smith after a record-breaking year in 2016, and last year it was won by 2017 World champion Hawke's Bay shearer John Kirkpatrick.

Bouskill's triumph recognised his win in last year's Golden Pliers national farm fencing final at Fieldays last year, succeeding and beating father and three-times winner Shane Bouskill.


Next month he will compete in the World championships, held every second year in Germany, where he hopes to again emulate his father who won the title there in 2015.

Tony Bouskill continued the winning form on Saturday when he and his father were first and second in the Speed Fencing event at the Rural Games which attracted big crowds to the Square in Palmerston North.

Wairoa sheep dog trialist Becs Baynes was a finalist in the Rural Sportswoman of the Year Award won by woolhandler Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra.

There was further Hawke's Bay success during the Rural Games with 2010 World and Golden Shears champion and Waipawa shearer Cam Ferguson winning the games' New Zealand Speedshear Championship, and confirming afterwards that at the prime shearing age of 35, he's gunning for the second machine shearing position in the New Zealand team for this year's World Championships in France.

With Smith already in the team after winning a sixth Golden Shears Open title, the second position will be decided at the New Zealand Shears in Te Kuiti on May 30.

The Palmerston North Square was packed for much of the weekend as the games further cemented Palmerston North as their home. Organisers estimate 30,000 people watched events, which included other traditional rural sports such as sheep dog trialing and woodchopping, and other events including gumboot and cow pat throwing, cherry stone spitting and egg throwing.