Sunday April 3, 2011



Plowing Forward

The 89th Annual Chilliwack Plowing Match a sodden affair

Staff Report/Voice file photo


George Bowen from Lynden Washington with his two draft horses, Mike and Pat. Bowen will be competing once again in the Lynden Plowing Match in two-weeks with judging from Chilliwack's Pierre Sache.



t was rainy and muddy but the tiller men seemed to be unfazed by the inclement weather as they pushed ahead in Chilliwack's 89th Annual Plowing Match on Saturday.

George Bowen is from just outside of Lynden, Washington. Each year Bowen comes up to Chilliwack for the Plowing Match with his two gentle giants, Pat and Mike.

"They come up every year," said Bowen referring to his draft horses. "This is kind of the first outing of the season for them and then we'll be plowing at the Lynden match two-weeks from now."

"On days off they kind of hang around the pasture, but on weekends when I'm done my job I use them in field work."

Just looking at Bowen you'd think he's a farmer, but this isn't the case. During the week, Bowen is a banker and does his plowing with a pencil. On weekends he's with his horses in the field.

"I'm a banker," said Bowen with a laugh. "This is what I really enjoy doing and we've got a farm so I use them on the farm and we just got done doing a lot of harrowing to get them in shape, that kind of thing. It was wet and a little muddy, but we're happy with it."

After heavy rains the night before, Saturday was demanding plowing in the muck. "It was tough on the horses," said one plowman.

Prizes for plowmen were modest, with $50 for a first place finish down to $20 for 4th place.

Match organizer, Pierre Sache, told The Voice in an e-mail that he'll be one of the judges at the Lynden Washington Plowing Match which is slightly younger in age than Chilliwack's and originally, they sent people up to learn how Chilliwack's Plowing matches were run.

Contestants have an one-and-a-half hours to finish their plots and points are assessed for straightness of rows, how the rows are furrowed in relation to the crown. Judging is also based on covering weeds, firmness and packing and just general appearance of the plowed plots.

Good plowing is a the land's best friend and when famers prepare seed beds they are also working to control weeds which are mulched into organic matter which in turn increase the soils ability to retain water.

An interesting aside, is that the oldest known plow dates back to 2000 BC and through the eons, farmers who plow the land belong to a specific fraternity and have always shared a common bond of friendship.

When fields are properly plowed and furrowed rows are turned over at the proper angle then a "furrow comb" is created which then makes for a good seed bed and slows the wind overtop of the fields which in turn reduces soil erosion and helps stop the soil from being blown away.

Winners of the 89th Annual Plowing match are as follows and thanks to Pierre Sache for the result information below.

BC Senior Championship

1st Gene Sache - Rosedale

2nd Shane Thompson - Chilliwack

3rd Adam Sache - Chilliwack


BC Reversible Championship

1st Francis Sache - Rosedale


BC Junior Championship

1st Andrew Graham - Abbotsford

2nd Philip Graham - Abbotsford

3rd Lindsey Dirks - Abbotsford


Chilliwack Antique Tractor Class

1st Gerry Norrish - Chilliwack

2nd Brent Holcik - Chilliwack

3rd Dave Barker - Keremeos


Sue Attrill, Councillor of Chilliwack won the Mayors Class.

Ken Bates won the sulky class for horses.

Denis Ryan won the walking plow class.


See more photos below.


Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice
























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