Horsepower revs up at Farmfair competition


Pulling their weight and more | Washington horse enthusiast follows a long line of horse pullers into the arena

EDMONTON — Richard Cameron brought his pair of shires to the heavy horse competition in Edmonton from Washington to see how they would fare against a new group of horses.

“I always wanted to play with the big kids. I wanted to compete against people who I don’t usually pull against,” said Cameron before the heavy horse pulling competition at the Farmfair International show.

Cameron grew up as part of a horse-pulling family with his grandpa, cousins, aunts and uncles all trying to see whose horse can pull the most weight.

“It gets in your blood. It’s an adrenaline rush to try and get two horses to work better. It makes you feel good,” said Cameron, who travelled to about 10 pulls this summer before coming to the competition at Farm-fair, which runs Nov. 4-11.

The main livestock shows were scheduled for later in the week, too late for this issue’s deadlines.

Cameron’s cousin, Cameron Witman and uncle, Randy Witman, also came up from Washington with their teams.

For Cameron Witman, competition pulling is like gambling.

“Competition gives you an adrenaline rush,” he said.

He competed in 25 pulling competitions this summer across the United States and Canada.

Richard Cameron tries to drive his horses almost every day to keep them in shape. While few people use Shires for competition, Cameron grew up with stories from his grandpa about his amazing Shire team. When it came time to buy his own team, he bought Shires. He brought Wally and Dixie a stud and mare to Farmfair.

“They’ve got a lot of go to them.”

Cameron didn’t do as well as hoped. During an early pull, one of the horses stepped over the sidelines disqualifying the team.

For Randy Witman, it marks his 52nd year competing in horse pulls. He started at five years old helping his father and “ain’t missed a summer since.”

“It’s just our family thing. When others go camping, we go horse pulling,” he said.

His team entered in the heavyweight division pulled 9,500 pounds 88 inches.

His son, Cameron, brought his “most seasoned” horses to the competition. His team of middleweight horses finished second. They pulled 10,000 pounds 45 inches.

Randy Dodge of Albany, Oregon, won first place in both the middlewight and heavyweight divisions. Ron Sebastian, of Lumsden, Sask., came first in the lightweight division.

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