Kippen's McGregor crowned Huron County Queen of the Furrow
BY DENNY SCOTT
Luanne McGregor of Kippen was officially crowned the Queen of the Furrow at the 94th Huron County Plowing Match on Friday night.
McGregor said the win didn’t register at first after her name was called at the gala event that caps off the two-day match.
“I was shocked to be honest, I didn’t think I was going to win,” she said. “My name was called and I felt like I just sat there for a second. I was so excited that I had no words. It was an exciting moment to think, ‘Holy cow, I did it.’”
McGregor has been vying for the crowns of the Huron County Plowing Match, both the Queen and the Princess, for a number of years, she said.
“I first ran for Princess when I was going to the eighth grade,” she said. “I ran three times for Princess and this is the second time I ran for Queen.”
She also won the Seaforth Fall Fair Ambassador position for 2017-2018.
“I always love to be involved in the community,” she said. “Being a part of competitions like these, it's a good way to do that. It’s also a good way to be an advocate for agriculture.”
She said she loved being the ambassador, and knows she will enjoy being the Queen as well.
“I loved my year as the fair ambassador for Seaforth,” she said. “I got to meet people and do new things. I definitely wanted that kind of experience again, and not just for myself, but so I can be an advocate for my community.”
Aside from plowing and taking part in interviews, McGregor recited a speech early in the day on Friday focusing on the Farmerettes - or the participants in the Ontario Farm Service Force. She detailed the program, which saw women taking to the fields while men were fighting in World War II.
“I have always been a history buff,” she said. “I wanted to do something different.”
She said she sought ideas online for a unique subject, and was looking to talk about women in agriculture. After finding the idea, she discussed it with her parents and found out she has a familial connection to the Farmerettes with a distant relative having been in the program. With a copy of the book Onion Skins and Peach Fuzz, which focused on members of the Farmettes, she was ready to start planning her speech.
“The book is where I got the idea,” she said.
After the speech, she also had to answer an impromptu question, which saw her speaking briefly about how farmers and agriculture were viewed after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
She is very excited for the coming busy year, which will see her visiting all manner of events and parades that she says will “definitely be worth it.”
“I’m hoping to get to Listowel this weekend for the Perth County Plowing Match and I’m most excited to go to the Blyth Threshers,” she said, referring to the annual reunion of the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association.
She explained her family has deep roots with the event and it will bring relatives from near and far to the Blyth Campground for the event.
“I’m very excited to attend as the Queen of the Furrow,” she said.
McGregor said she has already got some great advice from outgoing Queen Maranda Klaver, who may be staying on with the Huron County Plowmen’s Association.
“I definitely have some big shoes to fill,” McGregor said. “I told my mom that after the win. Maranda did quite an amazing job.”
She said the best advice she got before the competition was to be herself and be as approachable as possible. She said, however, the congratulations, so far, have outweighed the advice and she’s still amazed from all the best wishes.
Her own advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps is to “take the leap and be confident in [themselves].”
“Don’t have self-doubt, because you don’t know what will happen. It could take a couple tries, but in the end you can make it,” she said. “I think public speaking is a very good skill to have, especially in today’s work environment, and the competition helps with that.”
It also helps with networking, she said, which can really help later on in life.
McGregor said she wanted to thank the Huron County Plowmen’s Association for the chance to take part in the program, win or lose, and said the match was a great event. She also thanked the hosts of the match, the MacKenzies. The match was great, McGregor said, and she is excited for the year ahead offered to her as a result of her win at the match.