Area equines show who#8217;s boss in horse pull

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

PROCTORVILLE — The biggest, strongest Belgian horses in the county came out to prove who was the toughest during Tuesday’s horse pull at the Lawrence County Fair.

And the show they put on did not disappoint the crowds that gathered in the stands to watch the popular event.

The two-horse teams were hitched to trailers with cinder blocks piled on them. The horses then had to pull them as far as they could while staying inside the boundaries on each side. Each round, more and more weight was added. The winners were the equine giants that could pull the most weight the furthest distance.

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In the lightweight division, Dan Fulks’ horses took home top honors pulling 500 pounds a little more than 9 feet through the sloppy grandstand area, a result of the rains that began shortly before event. The horses from Fulks and Son won second place for their efforts.

The heavyweight division included some stout horses that were in top form for competition. Although, many were reluctant to get hitched-up at first, once they were, the horses’ put on an impressive display of strength and agility, something the large horses are traditionally known for.

“I just think it’s pretty amazing to come out here and watch them,” said Sherry Bradford, whose 5-year-old son, Brandon, was also impressed. “We have been around other types of horses, like the quarter horses, but seeing these (Belgian horses) is really something different.”

Brandon added, “Yeah, these (horses) are really big. I don’t think I could even get on them and ride.”

In the heavyweight division, five teams pulled through a grueling 12 rounds of competition. In the end, it was perennial favorite Steve Payne who had the top horses, his team he calls Tim and Dick. The pair pulled 8,050 pounds more than 26 feet to nudge out the Johnson Brothers for top honors. The Johnson’s horses pulled a little over 22 feet with the same weight.

Payne, of Wilgus, has won numerous competitions with his duo, which is noticeably smaller than the others in their division, but somehow managed to leave the others in the dust, or, as was the case Tuesday, the mud.

“They are good horses,” he said of his 15- and 16-year-old horses. “We’ve won a lot with them.”

The horses compete about nine times a year and have been quite successful, according to their owner.

Their success is a result of daily four-hour workouts that consist of the horses repetitively pulling 1,000 pounds.