He's all revved up to compete in the Taranaki-Manawatu Young Farmer of the Year contest in Feilding tomorrow.
"I'm going to give it my best and final shot - and hopefully come out on top," Taihape man James Rogers said.
It is his final attempt, because, at 30, he will be too old to compete next year. He's done so twice before - once in 2011 when he came top in Whanganui. He didn't know what to expect then, and said he had never been so nervous.
He didn't make it to the regional level then, but last year came fifth in the region, while fellow Marton Young Farmers' Club member Pete Fitz-Herbert won that event and was judged fifth nationally, taking home $15,000 worth of prizes.
At Feilding tomorrow Mr Rogers will face seven other competitors, including Mr Fitz-Herbert and two women. He hopes to make at least the top four.
"For sure there's prizes, but that doesn't interest me as much as the fact it's putting your name on such a prestigious trophy. And also there's the learning and challenges you face in the competition."
He gets a technical exam tonight, practical tests tomorrow at Manfeild events centre and a formal function that night at Feilding Civic Centre.
Mr Rogers knows the judges can "throw anything in there". He's been practising as best he can but distracted by the birth of his and wife Kate's daughter Charlotte on January 29.
He manages the family farm, Koeke Estate, in the headwaters of the Turakina River. Its 1500 hectares are mostly so steep that mustering has to be done with horses.
In summer, when temperatures can rise into the 30s in the valley's windless microclimate, Mr Rogers can be leaving the house on horseback at 4am, in order to move sheep before the heat sets in.