Rural Sports Awards surprise for White

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Warren White is not one to seek the limelight.

But the Waimate Shears president acknowledged that being named as a finalist for this year’s New Zealand Rural Sports Awards – in the outstanding contribution to rural sport category – was an honour.

“I wasn’t really expecting it,” he said.

The winners of the New Zealand Rural Sports Awards will be announced at a sold-out awards ceremony at the Awapuni Function Centre on March 12, which White will attend.

The finalists, in five award categories, are leaders in rural sports including shearing, fencing, wood chopping, rodeo, harness racing, and tree climbing.

“The Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards are all about honouring people from young athletes who are just starting, to the lifetime achievers, and those who work away in the background to make sure rural sports survive. We can’t thank them enough and look forward to sharing a wonderful evening with them as we celebrate their sporting achievements,” judging panel convener Nathan Twaddle said.

White, who started shearing in 1980, is one of three finalists in his category, named alongside Murray and Deneece Goldsworthy (harness racing) and Stephen Mowbray (rodeo).

He has served as president of the Waimate Shears Championships Society since 2005, and been involved in the committee for more than 20 years.

It was a way for him to give something back to the industry.

“Someone’s got to do it, don’t they,” he said.

“If no-one did anything, there’d be no entertainment for people.”

Last year, White settled the industry’s uncertainty due to Covid-19, adding the South Island Woolhandling Finals and Winter Comb Open Shearing Event to the Waimate programme, which promoted the resurrection of the national shearing circuit which had been at risk of cancellation.

The new purpose-built pavilion at the Southern Canterbury A&P showgrounds was a fantastic facility and had helped boost support for the annual event.

“It renewed the interest in the local community,” he said.

“We’ve ended up one of the good shows to come to.”