- The opening day of the 150th Wayne County Fair whinnied into action with the horse pulling competition, sponsored by Marshall Machinery, INC., on Friday morning.
The horse pull is a competition where draft horses, while strapped in a harness of a team of two, pull a weighted sled.
These sleds can hold up to 12,000 pounds and the winning team is the pair of horses that can pull the most amount of weight for no less than 27 feet.
The sport has an interesting history and is well suited to being seen in agricultural fairs like the Wayne County Fair. Originally, the sport began when farmers were still using horses for daily work on the farm. After a long day in the field, the farmers would gather and challenge other farmers to see which horse, or team of horses, could pull the most weight.
Today, these horses are usually not used for daily work. Instead, they are trained and conditioned like equine athletes for the sport.
In the modern competitive sport of horse pulling, the team is hitched to a dynamometer. The dynamometer dates back to World War I and is a machine designed to test the efficiency of a team of plowing horses.
The machine has weights that can be raised or lowered to test the strength of the animals. A starting load is usually set at 1,500 pounds to start the pull, which is a weight all entrants are expected to pull.
Linda Ianace, of Tafton, PA, and her husband try and travel each year to the Wayne County Fair each opening Friday to see the horse pull.
“We try to come to the fair at least once,” she said. But, her favorite event is the horse pull.
She likes to come see the event because the horses “are such beautiful animals. It’s amazing to see how gentle they are and strong they are at the same time.”
The fairgrounds were alive with the excitement of the first day of the fair. Many fairgoers were anxious to try the various food being offered. Some interesting concoctions are deep fried Oreos, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and lots of ice cold drinks.
The fair also has lots to offer shoppers looking for unique items for gifting. Booths were set up selling items from the practical, like farm equipment, to more extravagant purchases.
There was also quite a buzz surrounding the 4-H judging area, with eager onlookers vying for a chance to sneak a peak at how they fared in the competition.
The Wayne County Fair continues until Aug. 11 with more fun at the fair to come.