© 2009 Marica

061 – Shemozzle

Until today I had never heard of a shemozzle. As soon as I read the word in a banner draped across a building – “Hunterville Shepherds’ Shemozzle Today” – I had to say it out loud.

“Shemozzle. Shemozzle. Shemozzle.” Saying it once was not enough. It rolled off the tongue so easily and it sounded like fun.

We were driving through a normally very quiet township, Hunterville – the sort that you blink and you’ve missed it – but today it was bustling with activity and people.

“Do you want to stop?” asked Lynsey.

I was tempted but I was also very keen to reach our destination – a friend’s holiday home on the shores of Lake Taupo. Lynsey and I were both feeling so exhausted and I was harbouring a killer headache.

“No, let’s keep going,” I said. I did however sit there wondering what on earth a shemozzle is.

This gruelling cross country obstacle event is centred around the Shepherds and their Huntaway dogs competing over an endurance and obstacle course. Previous years have seen competitors swallowing raw eggs, munching on dry weetbix washed down with a can of warm beer, huhu bugs with cold cooking oil or a sheep’s eye and cream!

The route and finer details of the Shepherds’ Shemozzle are not revealed to contestants until the Shepherd’s meeting minutes before the race … Who knows where it will start and finish this year? – the only thing that organisers can guarantee is that the Shepherds’ Shemozzle will be just that “A Shemozzle”.

Source: Hunterville Huntaway Festival

We did however stop a bit later for a break and something to eat in Taihape. As we pulled into an angle car park on the main drag I noticed that we were the only ordinary car in sight. All the others were these huge, overbearing four wheel drive beasts. I had to smile as I looked at them. For the first time I saw evidence that the owners of these vehicles were using them for the purpose they were intended – as farm utility vehicles, or as I like to think of them, as beasts of burden. These vehicles we were parked next to were all covered in mud. They looked like they lived a rugged life and were worked hard. I am so used to seeing four wheel drive vehicles in the City primarily being used as vehicles to transport the family around. In many respects they are considered a status symbol but I could never understand this.

As we ordered our lunch we asked the young man serving us why there were so few people around. “They’re all at the shemozzle or they’re heading there,” he said.

I love being in the country. It is so down to earth. The people are different. Their priorities are different. Everything is different. It is all about the earth and our connection to it. It feels great to take in the beauty that is our land and be reminded that there is so much more to life than our jobs and the closeted existence we can so easily live in the city.

09. Every day learn something new.
29. Every day eat, drink, rest, work, exercise, play, love, create for your own good. And the good of others.
49. Every day is a good day.