Queenstown hosting national gumboot throwing champs

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Queenstown’s about to give New Zealand’s ‘gumboot capital of the world’ a muddy nose. 

The inaugural gumboot throwing national championships will be held at the NZ Rural Games here in February next year. 

Self-styled ‘gumboot capital of the world’, Taihape, will host the North Island champs a week before and send its best down to compete. 

Taihape’s Elizabeth Mortland says the town’s accepted the decision to launch the nationals in the resort.
Mortland is both founder of the newly-formed NZ Boot Throwing Association and events manager for the Taihape Community Development Trust. 

“It’s being held in Queenstown because we want to support the Rural Games and it will be good promotion for the NZBTA and gumboot throwing,” Mortland says. 

“Our hope is that it comes back to Taihape, so that we have the NZ championships on Gumboot Day here each year. 

“It’s very exciting we’ve got to this stage, the first national championships.” 

The inaugural Hilux NZ Rural Games – held over Waitangi weekend – is a two-day celebration of the country’s rural heritage. 

The 13 events include serious traditional sports such as wood chopping, sheep shearing and sheep dog trials, and more novelty contests such as gumboot throwing, cherry stone spitting and egg catching. 

Games founder Steve Hollander says he’s happy to welcome the sport into the rural games fold – despite losing his left bicep through competing. 

Hollander says: “I have been suffering ever since. 

“They had a crack at trying to reattach it but unfortunately it wasn’t successful so I have no bicep on that arm.” 

Hollander says the event’s all about strength, power, speed, timing and ‘snap’. 

“It’ll draw in competitors from field events who are generally good at chucking things. 

“In 10 years’ time the NZ gumboot champion will probably be in the Olympics,” he adds.