If you like horses, old tractors, new tractors, antique farm equipment, new farm equipment, crafts, food, old skills, a variety of skills testing and competitions like, oh say, pumpkin launching, and agriculture in general, then you would know about the very popular international plowing (ploughing) matches.
The International Plowing Match and Rural Expo is a huge annual event and it starts today in Verner, a small town about halfway between North Bay and Sudbury, about 400 kilometres north of Toronto.
The event, which runs until September 21st, annually attacts tens of thousands of visitors with over 77,000 last year attending the event in Chatham, southwestern Ontario.
In addition to the actual ploughing skills competition, Ontario’s provincial political leaders, New Democrat Andrea Horvath, Green Party Mike Schreiner, Liberal leader John Fraser, and Premier Doug Ford of the Progressive Conservatives will take part in the opening ceremonies and themselves have a mini competition to see which one can plough the straightest furrow.
At least one federal politician, currently on the federal election campaign trail, will also be there, Jagmeet Singh of the New Democratic Party.
Other events include lumberjack skills competitions, like log rolling in a pool of water, precision horse riding team, precision tractor driving, and live music performances. For the first time those not officially competing will also be able to try their skills with their own tractors or horses and ploughs.
The Canadian Forces precision parachute team, the Skyhawks will also drop in with demonstrations tomorrow.
The event covers about 1,000 acres, to accommodate over 1,000 RVs and trailers, car parking, 400 vendors, various display and special event areas, and of course the ploughing competitions.