Draft horse teams pull for prizes

By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

TROY — From large draft horses to small ponies, teams of every size will compete to see who can pull the largest load starting at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, during the draft horse pulls at the Miami County Fair.

Canceled last year, the event usually draws an average of 10-20 teams of horses and ponies.

“Last year, our event was canceled due to the weather,” fair board director Austin Butler said. “In years past, there have been five or six teams for the big horses, and then four or five teams for the small ponies.”

“The sign-ups for the draft horse pulls are the day of,” he said. “All the teams will come in, and they’ll come to an entry booth we have and they’ll sign up there.”

Mini-horse pulls will start at 1 p.m. in the stadium, with heavy weight horse pulls following immediately after. Entry fees are $10 for mini-horse teams or $20 for heavy weight teams. Cash prizes will be awarded, ranging from $30 to $90 for the mini-horse pulls or $25 to $400 for heavy weight pulls. All pulling horses are subject to testing by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Most teams come to compete, but a few also come just to watch the horse pulls.

“We have teams come from out of state as well; they just really like our pull,” Butler said. “I really hope they come back, and we get more horse teams to come to our fair.”

“Draft horse pulling is really starting to die off,” he said. “There’s really not too many younger folks getting involved with it; it’s a lot older crowd that’s still pulling. But around the arena, when we had it back there it was standing room only. It’s a very popular event.”