Fencing skills on show

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New Zealand National Fencing Championships (NZFC) judge Colin Brown shows the finer points of fencing using hand tools to a young man considering entering the New Zealand National Fencing Championships next year, pointing out the 45 degree angle on the staples , the use of quarter rounds, and advising sharpening and oiling the spade blade pre-competition for ease of use. Brown has been judging the competitions for about 11 years and competed for 18 years before that, so it would be hard to find a better advisor.


There are three forms of fencing on show at Fieldays this year. Two competitions profile traditional skills in a sporting-like approach, while the Fencing Demo Area provides an up-close, hands-on experience to get tips from an expert.


The New Zealand National Fencing Championships at Fieldays is organised by the New Zealand Fencing Competitions (NZFC), which is affiliated to the Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand (FCANZ). A Fairbrothers Speed Fencing judge, Wayne Newdick, says competitive fencing requires fitness, excellent hand-eye coordination and a high level of concentration.


Fencing contractor Jared Nicholson says he competes because, “it sets a good standard for your work, and it is good to show you can fence to the NZFC standard. Winning is a way of showing the cockies that you are at the top of your game. It’s also good to get together with other contractors and have a yarn about what is happening around the country.”


Most professional fencers learn on the job or through one of a handful agricultural colleges. Shane Bouskill’s day job is at the prestigious Smedley Station in Hawkes Bay, teaching farm cadets skills including fencing. Building a fence by hand gives a much better understanding of the mechanics of building a fit-for purpose fence than learning with mechanical post hole diggers, he says.


Bouskill won last year’s Golden Pliers and the Silver Spade doubles competition with Gordon Hansen. He’s back to defend his titles. Bouskill learned fencing from his father, teaching his son in turn – Tony Bouskill is competing this year too.


The Fairbrothers Speed Fencing competition is aimed at contractors and farmers. What is fast? At the Singles Competition on Wednesday, top contestants nailed 15 battens in less than 11 minutes. While the emphasis is on being quick, quality is also taken into account.


For a slower, close up view of a range of quality fencing for those of us without the benefit of that training, visit the new Fieldays Fencing Demos where a team of three experienced contractors can answer your fencing questions and give you hands-on fencing tips.


The site is organised by Kerry Powell of Waikato- based Taragate Ltd says, “The goal is to provide an approachable and practical face to fencing”. They are keen to raise fencing standards.


Whether the visitor is a home gardener wanting to know about espaliering, a lifestyle block owner deciding on what fencing type is needed for sheep through to giraffes (yes, they really do have experience with giraffes), how to track down a reputable contractor in his area or a farmer wanting to get tips on repairing a fence, the Demos team is there to help.


Examples of electric, netting and post and rail fencing are on view, along with demonstrations of gate hanging can be seen on the Demo site. There has been great interest from Fieldays visitors, with one of the contractors being invited to teach fencing in Japan as a result. The team are already planning how they can make next year’s demonstrations even better, and welcome advice.


So whether it is fast fencing fun or fencing advice visitors are after, they can find it in the Fieldays Fencing area.


Competition Winners:

In the New Zealand National Fencing Championships, Daniel Hunt won the Bill Schuler Novice Round on Wednesday, with by Jack Richardson in second, then Jamie Graham in third place.


The Wiremark Golden Pliers was won again by the experienced Shane Bouskill, a tutor at Smedley Station.


NZFC Silver Spades Doubles Championship title went to father and son team of Paul and Jason Van Beers.


NZFC Fieldays Silver Staples Youth Doubles competition was won by Smedley Station cadets Wilton Weeks and Tyler Morrison.


The Fairbrother Speed Fencing awards were announced on Saturday. Winning $1000 in the Singles was Simon Green in first place, Jeff Joines won $500 in second place, and Jared Nicholson won $300 in third. In the Doubles, Simon Green and Jared Nicholson won $1000.


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