The old adage about it being too wet to plow, doesn't appear to apply to the US Draft Horse and Mule Plowing Contest. So, despite over 3/4 of an inch of rain overnight, this year's competition at Downs Farm in Olympia Kentucky took place as scheduled on Saturday, October 26, 2019. There had been predictions of a 100% chance of rain on Saturday, but it had been decided at the participants dinner on Friday evening that contestants had come from several states and went to a lot of trouble to get there, so they would plow regardless of the weather. As it turned out, the light rain that was falling on Saturday morning lifted about 10 AM and the plowing competition got underway as scheduled. The entire state of Kentucky had been under drought conditions throughout September, so the ground was able to absorb the rain that had fallen and, while not ideal, the plowing was not too bad. There were 7 different classes although some classes only had one entry and some contestants entered more than one class. As has been the tradition at this event, 3 different independent judges were used to try ensure fair results. Judges had 10 categories to judge and gave each contestant up to 10 points in each category. A total of up to 300 points were available to each contestant in a class (100 per judge) with the winner being the one with the highest point total. The overall winner is the contestant with the highest point total in all the classes. This years High Point winner was Mike Atkins from Ohio with 278 points. Mike has been the high points winner several times in the past. He and his mules are the perennial team to beat when it comes to this event. In second place was Megan Pattison from WVA with 271 points. Megan had competed last year and won the Novice class which meant she had to go up against the big boys this year in the Walking Plow class. A lot of people were warning Mike to watch out as his reign as king of the hill may be challenged in the future by a GIRL! After the ribbons and trophies had been handed out, Doris Mosher from Ohio awarded special halters to each of the class winners to show her appreciation for the camaraderie and the sportsmanship that this event epitomizes. For those who were still around on Sunday morning, Orin Perdue from Maryland and Mark Watson from West Virginia conducted a church service before everyone headed out to return home. A heartfelt thank you to Mike and Joyce Downs for again hosting this event. It was a lot of work for them, but everything was first class and I think that everyone who attended really enjoyed their time in the Bluegrass State!!
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