The south's two hopefuls in the FMG Young Farmer Contest have the home crowd double the thrill on Saturday night, finishing first and second in the grand final held in Invercargill.
Even after winning three out of the five categories, Young Farmer of the Year hopeful Logan Wallace was holding his breath waiting to find out if he had done enough. Moments later the ILT stadium in Invercargill erupted as the Otago-Southland regional finalist's name was called out as the winner.
After three gruelling days of competition last weekend the Waipahi farmer had finally done it in his second and final attempt at a grand final.
"It was absolutely amazing — there's been a lot of hard work that's gone into it over the past four or five years," he said.
"At first it was a dream and then it was written down as a goal."
The 28-year-old was officially representing the Otago-Southland region but the runner-up, Cameron Black, also had ties to the region.
Mr Black grew up in Gropers Bush, where his parents still farm, but was representing the Aorangi region as he is now Christchurch-based as a rural consultant.
Unlike Mr Wallace, Mr Black had not won any of the categories and was even less sure of the outcome as the results were being announced. "I felt like I'd gone pretty well right the way through but it puts a bit of doubt in your mind [when you don't win a category].
"I was thinking 'right-o maybe I haven't gone as well as I thought' — obviously you think you know how you went but you never know how well the other guys went, so to hear it when it came out as second I was just really stoked."
Both southern lads agreed the competition and fellow competitors were tough. Mr Wallace said it was harder than his first attempt at a grand final two years ago in Timaru.
"The most soul-destroying moment was getting to the wool-press and knowing how much work you had to do – halfway through that you're sitting there hardly being able to pull it [the wool press] down and at the point there the roar of the home crowd was one of the things that really kept you going."
But at the end of the day Mr Wallace put his win down to keeping a clear head, something he had aimed to do right from the start, and having a previous experience in the competition.
Along with the 2018 FMG Young Farmer of the Year title Mr Wallace also won more than $155,000 in prizes. His prize package included a New Holland tractor, a Honda quad bike, cash, scholarships, equipment and clothing.
Mr Wallace kept the title in the region for another year following on from his predecessor Nigel Woodhead, who was the first Otago-Southland candidate to claim the title in over 20 years.
Cameron Black, who grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Gropers Bush, took home second place representing the Aorangi region. PHOTO: Supplied