An unbelievable display of strength and power at the horse pulling
championship during this year's Pennsylvania Farm Show in January brought
home the victory for two families living in the Acme area.
Longtime horseman Tom Brown, and his sons, Scott, Rick, Keith and
Charlie, were all at this year's Farm Show to bring home the heavyweight
division championship to Westmoreland County.
Even though the Brown Brothers travel around the country with their
top-performing horses, it can be unusual to see them all together for an
event, especially now since they are each married and have families of
But the horse pulling competition earlier this month at the Farm Show
was a rare opportunity to see the sons of Tom and Vera Brown of Acme
working together to win for the second straight year with horses Jim and
Fred -- a pair of Belgian drafts that out-muscled and outlasted their way
past 20 other teams from across the state.
Jim and Fred reached a full pull of more than 12,000 pounds. The Browns
also had a team of horses that placed fifth.
Tom Brown started pulling horses in the 1960s after becoming interested
in the idea of working with horses and strength training them to pull
loads sometimes double and triple their own weight.
His sons soon followed suit and began helping their father in the barn
early in life. Horses became a way of life for the whole family. They have
won national competitions and traveled throughout the U.S. to various
competitions with their horses.
"This is something the whole family has always been involved in," said
Tom Brown. "My sons have kept an interest in this sport and it's nice we
can come together as a family and still enjoy it."
In the light-weight division, Bobby Howard, also of Acme just over the
county line in Fayette County, also had a successful night, winning both
first and second places with his teams of horses.
Bobby is the son of Billy and Joyce Howard and the grandson of Bill
Howard, who for many years served as the president of the Tri-County Horse
and Mule Pullers Association -- a regional organization organized in a
post World War II generation to organize draft horse and mule lovers from
Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset counties.
Bobby has been working with horses his entire life, beginning to
actually serve as the driver for horse pulling competitions when he was
still in grade school.
Pulling a load of almost 11,000 pounds, Bobby's horses Charlie and
Barney went the distance with 23 feet and 11 inches. Howard's second team
of Marlin and Tom was not far behind, with a finish of 21 feet and 6
inches. Third place went to Sonny Brown of Corry in Crawford County and
his team of Mac and Diesel, which pulled the load 18 feet and 10 inches.
Seventeen teams competed in the lightweight division.
While the horse pulling competition at the Farm Show always brings out
the best horses and some of the biggest crowds, this year's competition
was especially tense. In past years, the dynamometer served as the sled
for the competition. It is a truck mechanized with weights and usually
allows the competitions to go more quickly because it doesn't have to be
pulled like a sled back and forth.
However, the sled loaded with weights was brought back to the
competition this year and the huge horses leaned into the load with all
their might. The competition was not over until after 10:30 p.m.
In addition to Bobby Howard winning the first and second places in
lightweight and Sonny Brown in third, the remaining results for
lightweight in order were: Mark A. Minton, Cabot, Butler County; Ira
Kessler Logging, Columbia Cross Roads, Bradford County; Bill Howard, Acme,
Westmoreland County; Jerry B. Shearer, Chambersburg, Franklin County;
Perkey Farms, Alverton; William E. Mitchell, Jr., Waterford, Erie County;
Guy Burgess, Cochranton, Crawford County; Raymond C. Long, Sidman, Cambria
County; Donald Sproat, Dawson; Shane Wright and Corey Wagner, Spring Run,
In addition to the Brown brothers winning first place in the
heavyweight and Bill McIntire winning second and third, the remaining
results in order in heavyweight were: B and J Farms, Acme, Fayette County;
Tom Brown, Acme, Westmoreland County; Victor Bonacassio, Rochester Mills,
Indiana County; Sam Hawley, Spartansburg, Erie County; Cole Suter,
Somerset; Luke Van Horn, Creekside, Indiana County; George Brindle,
Chambersburg, Franklin County; Jeffrey Martin, Punxsutawney, Jefferson
County; Huck and Kim Nutwell, Needmore, Fulton County; Casey Harriman,
Jonestown, Sullivan County; Scott Enslin and Denise Wright, Spring Run,
Franklin County; Chris Coblentz, Rossiter, Indiana County; Jim Suter,
Somerset, Somerset County; Harold and Lora MacAfoose, Sugar Grove, Warren
County; Scott Enslin, Spring Run, Franklin County; Milton J. Rice,
Hickory, Washington County; Denise Wright, Spring Run, Franklin County;
William D. Jones, Derry.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show's horse pulling competition is the largest
one of its kind in the state. The Farm Show itself is the largest indoor
agricultural event in the nation, featuring 6,500 animals, 15,000
commercial and competitive exhibits, hundreds of shows and events. It
draws more than 400,000 visitors. For more information, visit the
Article courtesy of the Tribune-Review