One-day plowing match deemed a success by association president
BY DENNY SCOTT
The Huron County Plowing Match, heavily modified to run under COVID-19 guidelines, went well this year according to Huron County Plowmen’s Association President Brian Wiersma.
Wiersma, in an interview with The Citizen shortly after the one-day match wrapped up last Friday, said the event was a success for everyone involved.
“Everything went great,” he said. “It was perfect, and it was just the way we planned it and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
He said that everyone who saw him that day knows he had a big smile on his face as a result of the success of the match.
The match was hosted by Ross and Barb McIntosh in Central Huron on a Division Line field that was modified and specially laid out to meet COVID-19 restrictions.
While the local match usually spans two days, with the Junior Day on Thursday, including younger contestants plowing and the Huron County Princess competition, and the regular match on Friday, including the Queen of the Furrow competition, this year’s event was shortened by the temporary suspension of the Princess and Queen competitions.
While the event usually brings in dozens of plowing competitors from not only Huron County but neighbouring counties as well, this year’s match was an invitation-only event that saw a total of 16 plowers, 15 of whom were from Huron County. The other was from Perth County (the event was only open to competitors from Huron and Perth Counties to coincide with Huron Perth Public Health jurisdiction).
“The youngest was 12 years old and the oldest was [longtime plower, and match supporter] George Townsend,” Wiersma said. He said there were some older plowers competing, but the majority were 4-H plowers who were not only competing, but also finishing out their club experience for the year.
“Everyone enjoyed themselves,” Wiersma said, adding that judge Bryan Bertrand, who is from Perth County, said he wished his home association had gone ahead with a similar match.
Wiersma said there were no complications as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions as everyone followed the rules by signing in and masking up if they were near someone outside of their regular contacts.
The match also welcomed special guest Anna Lennox, the Ontario Queen of the Furrow, to what was actually her first plowing match since being crowned.
Lennox was named Queen of the Furrow for 2020-2021 after the cancellation of the International Plowing Match (IPM). She was first runner-up during the 2019 IPM, the last one held prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lennox, who represents the Grey-Normanby Plowmen’s Association, is from Ayton and was very excited to be able to attend a plowing event after COVID-19 restrictions kept her away from public events.
“I was so excited to hear it’s going ahead here,” she said in an interview with The Citizen at the match.
Lennox was very impressed with the number of plowers at the site, as well as the variety of different plowing classes being represented.
“It’s good that people are still engaged in such an important activity,” she said, adding she was excited to speak with the plowers at the site.
Lennox’s day included being guided by Maranda Klaver, Huron County’s reigning Queen of the Furrow, and meeting the current and former Wardens of Huron County, Glen McNeil and Jim Ginn, respectively, as well as the volunteers who made the match possible.
She also spent some time learning about the area from Townsend, who shared his experiences while working on his antique plowing rig.
Lennox said she was very thankful for the chance to be at the event and get to meet everyone, and is thankful for her opportunity to be the Queen of the Furrow for Ontario.
Seven different classes of plowing took place at the match, with Chris Baker being named Champion Junior Plowperson with 129 points. The Reserve Champion Junior Plowperson title went to Dugald McIntosh of the match’s host family who earned 127.5 points. Brian McGavin captured the Senior Championship Plowperson Award by scoring 145 points while Jonathan Hugill claimed Reserve Champion Senior Plowperson with 127.5 points.
Specific class breakdowns are as follows and in order of finish:
• Class 2 (Juniors): Chris Baker, Pete Albers, Andrew Fear, Ben Speer, Darcy Fear.
• Class 4 (Green class-Juniors): Dugald McIntosh, James Speer, Ryan Miller, Carali Hugill and James Miller.
• Class 5 (Senior - Huron County): Brian McGavin, Jonathan Hugill
• Class 8 (Three Furrow): Anthony Bertrand
• Class 10 (Antique): George Townsend
• Class 12A (Horse Class, Sulky Plow): Jordan Shortreed
• Class 13 (Horse Class, Walking Plow): John Dekroon
Aside from the classes, several awards were handed out at the match as well, including:
• The Val-lea Farm Award: Carali Hugill won the award which is presented to the youngest plower at the match. John Becker presented Hugill with the award.
• The Don Dodds Award: Anthony Bertrand captured this award, named after long-time Huron County plowing judge and presented to the highest scoring visitor to the match. Anthony was the only plower from outside of Huron County, having attended the match with his father, judge Bryan Bertrand.
• The Best Going Plow Team: John Dekroon captured this award, which honours the best team of horses for plowing.
The Huron County Plowmen’s Association also noted that Klaver would continue to be Queen of the Furrow until the next Huron County Plowing Match, while Princess Grace Hallahan would also extend her reign in a similar fashion.
Association Secretary Joan Ryan, in an interview with The Citizen after the match, said it couldn’t have happened without the hard work of the executive, Bertrand’s judging services, and the McIntoshes for hosting. She also noted that the 4-H organizers, including Melissa Veldman, were key in making sure the plowing match happened this year.