The 14th annual US Draft Horse and Mule Plowing Contest returned for the third time on October 20, 2018 to the farm of
Mike and Joyce Downs in Olympia, Kentucky. The number of entrants for this year was down because of the two recent hurricanes which caused most of the competitors from the eastern states
to have to cancel their plans to attend. The soybean crop that covered the competition fields was combined on Thursday afternoon and the fields were ready for use when the first competitors
started to practice on Friday morning. The Friday practice session was followed by the competitors dinner on Friday evening up the road in Mike and Joyce's new barn.
There was about 3/10's of an inch of rain overnight on Friday and it was very misty and overcast when the competition was scheduled to start at 10AM on Saturday morning, but it
didn't seem to slow anyone down. There was 14 plots scheduled to be plowed during the day and the first competitors got right to it. When the misty rain stopped around noon and
the sun broke through the clouds, about half of the competitors had already finished their plots. Bob Stull was on hand again with his sound system to provide some tunes and some
commentary about what was going on throughout the day. There were 3 judges, as always at this event. Two were from the local area and one was from Michigan. The final plot of the day was
finished and the total scores were determined by about 3PM. Mike then acted as Master of Ceremonies and the awards were handed out. The coveted High Points Award again went to Mr. Mike Atkins
from Ohio who has won this award several times over the years with his outstanding team of mules. The reserve High Points Award went to Mike McCormick with Reinhold Finkes in 3rd place.
Basically, it was a sweep for the boys from Ohio this year as far as the high points awards went.
This year's event went very well! Unfortunately, the number of entrants was down primarily due to the hurricanes that pummelled the eastern part of the country just prior to the event.
It takes a lot of work to put something like this on and Mike and Joyce have been working on it for almost a year in order to get things lined up and to find sponsors, etc. The best news
came at the end of the awards ceremony when Mike and Joyce stated that they would be willing to try it again and will host the 15th annual event next year at the same time and place!
Click the links below to see the photos from this event!