Another special attraction is planned by the Burlingame Saddle Club.
“We’re having our first annual Draft Horse Pull on Saturday evening, June 14, starting at 6 o’clock, in the arena, located at 829 South Rodeo Drive in Burlingame,” announced Pat Rusher, saddle club official.
With successful annual rodeos, regular trail rides and other events involving horse enthusiasts in Osage County and beyond, the active horse group has been considering bringing back the once very popular big horse pulling event, and logistics have finally come together to make it a reality.
“A horse pull is an elimination contest between teams of big horses weighing often more than a ton apiece pulling thousands of pounds of dead weight, typically salt blocks, 15 feet,” Rusher explained.
“The successful team moves on to the next round until there are only two teams left, and the winner of that last round is declared the champion,” she said.
In decades gone by, many communities in the state conducted such annual competitions, with a major contest always at the Mid America Fair in Topeka. Today, there are still some draft horse pulls far and few between, but the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson during September continues to host a major contest drawing top teams from throughout the Midwest.
One enthusiastic draft horse puller who’ll be at Burlingame is Fred Robinson of Galesburg (shown). “I grew with Quarter Horses, but when I got married, my father-in-law, Larry Woolery of Thayer got me interested in pulling, and now it’s a family effort that everybody gets involved in,” explained Robinson, whose wife, Dawn, will serve as the announcer for the competition Saturday night.
“We’ve had several teams over the years, but this year we’re pulling with Rex and Bill. They weighed more than 3,900 pounds as a pair when we competed at St. Paul on Memorial Day. We didn’t win there, but they pulled almost twice their weight, nearly four ton. This team works well together. They do have a lot of heart. We’ve been conditioning them pretty hard. It’s really just like getting a football team ready for a game. I expect them to pull more at Burlingame,” Robinson evaluated.
“Come to Burlingame Saturday evening, June 14, and witness the power of these noble giants as they compete for prize money and bragging rights,” welcomed Rusher. “It’ll be a great opportunity to bring the family to watch horses and families all working together.”