Fountain Horse Pull is a laid-back event for everyone
The community of Fountain came together for it’s annual Horse Pull competition on a sweltering Saturday afternoon. The tradition has been around for as long as people can remember, for 50 some years people said.
John Kripe and his team of Belgian draft horses won first place, pulling 9,000 pounds of concrete slabs for a distance of 27 feet, 2 inches. Second place went to Don Darnell and Brandon Bolles at a distance of 18 feet, 6 inches. Third place was Jesse Erickson and Bud Gould distance 15 feet, 2 inches.
Each winner received a trophy and a cash prize of $300 per team.
The track was muddy. The mud helped the sled slide until it got too heavy, and then the mud sucked the sled down into it, making it more difficult for the horses to get traction and pull the sled.
Cameron Witman traveled from Washington to compete on Saturday. He travels across the country competing in horse-pulling competitions with his two Belgian draft horses, Cracker and Duke. Witman has competed in Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Canada.
Competing in horse pulls is a Witman family hobby. Both his parents competed in horse pulls, and typically the entire family, including his brother and sister-in-law, will travel together to watch him compete.
He exercises his horses by pulling a light work sled 5 miles every day.
“As you can imagine owning horses and competing in horses pulls is definitely not a cheap sport,” Fountain resident Ben Angle said. “You gotta love it because everything you do goes to this.”
People from Fountain and the nearby area come to enjoy the laid back atmosphere and socialize with friends.
Joe and Phyllis Meisenhiemer from Ludington attended for the second time.
“We thought it sounded fun so we just decided to give it a shot, why not,” Joe said with a shrug.
“My grandpa had Belgian horses, that created my interest in them,” Phyllis said.
Peggy Appledorn, horse pull committee member and score keeper for 16 years, has been coming to the horse pull since she was a kid.
“I live in Fountain and always enjoyed the community as a kid,” she said. “My goal is to make this an enjoyable event for everyone.”