Submitted by Tom Loghrin
Daniel Blekkenhorst on Massey Harris “2222” in teeter totter class (Tractor Rodeo)
Allen Barrie Grand Champion (Plowing)
The first plowing match, organized by farmers in the Slate River Valley, was held 90 years ago on the John MacKay Hunt Farm on Lot 13, Concession 1, Paipoonge Township. Thus began an activity that, with the exception of the WWII years, continues
annually. On Sept. 8 & 9, 2017, the 85th Match was held at the corner of Piper Rd. and Hwy. 130 just a short distance from the original location.
The plowing clinic hosted on Friday afternoon by OPA judge, Wayne Downie, was well received by the competitors. The first round of Tractor Rodeo was on Friday evening with two more rounds on Saturday. Generally, although demonstrations did go on both days, the bulk of activities took place on Saturday.
More plowers than usual participated under beautiful sunny skies and Allen Barrie earned the Grand Championship. For a complete list of winners, please visit www.slateriverplowingmatch.ca/results.html . Celebrities lined up to try their hand at turning the sod with a walking plow. Spectators also watched a variety of demonstrations ranging from binding and threshing to grinding oats. Jason Reid’s sheep shearing fascinated many. More than 50 antique tractors were on display and most joined the parade on Saturday afternoon. Tractor operators were challenged in the Tractor Rodeo doing a long list of things such as balancing on a teeter totter and backing a wagon to the loading dock.
Of course, to enhance all this were static displays, food vendors, and music in the pavilion. The usual “people movers” had a special addition with Jessica Mina and her team of draft horses; the wagons were full much of the time.
Rural Heritage Days under the auspices of the Rural Heritage Agricultural Society and the Ontario Plowmen’s Association continues to evolve. The sawmill and planing mill, almost ready this year, will be up and running for the 86th Match. Plan to join the fun on the weekend after Labour Day in 2018!