The finalists for the 2021 Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards have been announced.
There are five categories this year, Rural Sportsman of the Year, Rural Sportswoman of the Year, Young New Zealand Rural Sportsperson of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rural Sports Award and the Lifetime Legacy Award.
The awards dinner will be held on Friday, March 12 at Awapuni Function Centre, the night before the Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North.
Before that gala event takes place, you can get to know the finalists a little better below.
Here are the finalists for the Lifetime Legacy award.
Toyota Lifetime Legacy Award
Sally Mallinson – Sheep Dog Trials
With a career spanning more than 30 years, Sally Mallinson's dedication to dog trials is exemplary.
Having started her career as a competitor where she placed in a few events, Sally went on to dedicate 17 years as secretary to the Hilton/Gapes Valley Collie club.
There, Mallinson planned two South Island Championships and a nationwide New Zealand Championship, which involved at least two years preparation per event - collating sponsorship, handling substantial six-figure budgets, and processing thousands of dogs.
Proving her devotion to the dog trialling community, Mallinson also spent 13 years as editor of the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association newsletter.
In this role, she turned a once small-town, monochrome newsletter into a full colour magazine, which is distributed throughout New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Curly Troon – gumboot throwing
Curly Troon is a keen promoter of gumboot throwing throughout New Zealand, and has successfully promoted Taihape as a destination of the sport for many years.
The founding member and Chairman for the New Zealand Boot Throwing Association, Troon has been involved in the sport since the establishment of "Gumboot Day" in 1985.
Since then, Troon has been a thrower, winner, organiser, promoter, demonstrator and helper of the sport.
Troon was a member of the North Island team for the last five years and has competed in the men's open at the North Island Championships.
He was also a member of the team who won the 2019 World Champion National Team Event.
Greg Herrick – shearing
In 2019 Wairarapa shearer Greg Herrick celebrated 50 years of service to shearing sports.
In those 50 years Herrick has been the President of the Golden Shears International Shearing Championships Society in Masterton and spent 16 years as Chairman of the Golden Shears World Council - the recognised world body for shearing sports.
Herrick was also a Golden Shears open shearing championship finalist in the 1970s.
Herrick retired from the World Council in 2019, but will continue serving the Golden Shears movement, following a long-standing tradition of past presidents.
Nick Liefting – fencing
Two-time Golden Pliers and four-time Silver Spades winner, Nick Liefting has been competing in fencing for 40 years.
In 2008, Liefting was invited to, and went on to win, the World Fencing Championships in Germany, following his impressive Wiremark Golden Pliers final performance.
Although Nick retired from competitive fencing in 2015, he continues to be involved in the sport, organising the Franklin A and P competition in February 2021 - the first time the event has been run in 35 years.
Liefting is a fully active committee member of the New Zealand Fencing Competitions (NZFC) and is fully involved in organising, judging, mentoring, and even coaching some competitors on his training site.
Also an established author, Liefting has written a detailed autobiography called "The Golden Pliers".
He has donated 100 per cent of the profits from his book towards mentoring and coaching young people on the path to the Golden Pliers.
Sheree Taylor – wood chopping
A 66-year-old grandmother of five, Sheree Taylor has been axing gender stereotypes in wood chopping for over 30 years.
From her career start in the United States in the 1990s, where she won six single-handed sawing world contests, Taylor now has 10 world titles under her belt.
Back home, as one of the first women to compete in New Zealand at an official capacity, Taylor initially encountered tension from the male-dominated competitor base.
As a result, she committed herself to working harder and competing to the best of her ability, eventually earning the respect of all competitors and paving the way for other women to follow.
Taylor has created a lasting legacy for the sport, founding the New Zealand national women's wood chopping team, The Axeferns.
As founder and former captain of the Axeferns, Taylor has led her team to success around the world and has been named Matamata-Piako Sportsperson of the Year three times.