The Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games is proud to announce a new championship for the heaviest athletes in rural sports.
Rural Games founder Steve Hollander said Highland Heavies have been part of the Rural Games since it began over six years ago as a Trans-Tasman heavies competition.
“We’ve been getting inundated with requests from around the world for entries, so we felt it was time to step it up a notch.
“We approached the rural division of Professional Unique Realty, and they fell in love with the concept.”
Southern Hemisphere Highlander Champion organiser Jono ‘Minister of Misery’ McFarlane said it’s been a fantastic opportunity to create a whole new competition.
“We’ve extended the competition over the two days of the Rural Games – that way our athletes will physically be in top form throughout the competition. And, audiences on both days will get to experience the thrill of what the heavies can do.”
“This year our Kiwi heavies will come up against big men from Canada and Australia.”
Professional Unique Realty Rural Specialist Jeremy Cotter said he was a little bit in awe of the heavies.
“Having been a professional rugby coach for the Manawatū Turbos, I’ve worked with some big boys over the years, but I can tell you that heavies are seriously next level in terms of strength. From tossing the caber to picking up 150kg Manawatū River rocks it’s more than a little bit awe-inspiring,” said Mr Cotter.
“For Professional Unique Reality, it’s a fantastic alignment – providing a free entertaining event that showcases what training and mind over matter can achieve. I’m super stoked that three of our heavies are locals – that puts some real meaning behind the saying ‘Mighty Manawatū’.”
Steve Hollander said 2020 is shaping up to be a great year as 80-year-old Des McLean, master caber craftsman, from One Tree Bay in Northland, is crafting a new caber for the Southern Hemisphere Highlander Champion competition from a Tanekaha tree.
“Tanekaha is the crème-de-la-crème for cabers as they don’t snap,” said Jono McFarlane. “The heavies in Waipū have been using them for years and it’s fantastic to have one being made for our new competition.”
The 2020 Southern Hemisphere Highlander competitors are:
- Luke ‘Blue Mountain’ Reynolds – Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia
- Joshua Plante – St Catharine, Ontario, Canada
- Jayden Hill – Adelaide, South Australia
- Craig ‘Lifts n Biffs’ Manson – Canterbury, New Zealand
- Reuben de Jong – Auckland, New Zealand
- Callum McConachy – Palmerston North, New Zealand
- Carl Waitoa – Palmerston North, New Zealand
- Adam Miller – Palmerston North, New Zealand
Steve Hollander said the Games are in discussions with heavies in Scotland and Europe, with the aim to have a world-wide field of competitors in 2021.
Photo: Southern Highland Heavy competitors Callum McConachy and Adam Miller (left) with Professional Unique Realty Rural Specialist Jeremy Cotter in the middle.