Plowing match is more than just a competition

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Plowing-Match   by Fred Groves

From well muscled horses to eight-wheeled behemoth tractors, plowing has evolved immensely in Essex County.

And while a wandering eye quickly picked up on the historical significance of both, when it came right down to it, busting the ground in a straight line is still the main objective.

On Saturday, dozens of plowmen engaged in an annual ritual that has become not only a friendly competition, but a chance to meet up and talk about what they know best; farming.

This year’s Essex County Plowing Match was held just outside of Essex Centre on 140 acres owned by Colchester Farms, (the Anger family), on the Arner Townline.Plowing-Match-4

Last year’s Queen of the Farrow, Emma Anger, was at the event and she is part of a four-generation family that, after many years, was able to host the plowing match.

“We’ve wanted to have it and finally we have fields big enough,” Anger said.

She is looking forward to heading to Walton in Huron County on September 19-23 where she will proudly represent the agriculture sector of Essex County.

“I will be competing against 29 others for the Ontario title. I will be plowing, giving a speech, and interviewed,” she said.

Once again, lack of rain prior to this year’s Essex County Plowing Match meant the ground was cement-like, but according to organizer Murray McLeod, when there is a will there is a way.

“It’s dry, but they are getting it done,” he said overlooking the competitors.

McLeod, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Essex County Plowman’s Association, said the annual event has been going on for around 60 years.Plowing-Match-3

“They (the plowmen) have a book and they keep note of their adjustments. They have to change those because of the hard ground.”

There were surprisingly a lot of young families at this year’s plowing match, and many of them came to get a close-up look at the large machinery, take a turn behind the wheel of a tractor, and of course marvel at a couple of equine crowed-pleasers.

Nelson Sage of Thamesville brought his horses Nick and Jeff to the competition and once again put on a skillful demonstration.Plowing-Match-2