When Bob Stimer began his life long love of horses
things were different than they are today. Draft horses were used to power the
farm and that was how he used them, plowing, dragging, discing, cultivating and
hauling hay and manure and the other farm tasks.
Bob began pulling horses in 1949, and he never
learned the joy of losing. Those who have seen him pull remember how excited he
was when he was pulling. Not only was he excited, he demanded that everyone
around him share that excitement whether they wanted to or not. He demanded that
the family, and friends be a part of it. We suspect that was because he needed
help. He even made his mother go to the contests and keep score, then he double
checked her work afterwards. Also his niece, Sue Webb went to those “command
contests” with Bob and her grandma, and will still run into Bob at a pull today
when she doesn’t even have to go. (She is around here someplace right now,
running around to do stuff for Bob)
Then he went away to see the world, well, maybe
not the world but some parts of it. He went into the U.S. Army and his
government provided him transportation so he could see Korea from 1951 to ’53.
Following his travel adventures he returned to the farm and especially
horsepulling. He is comfortable preparing food when he gets the right
In those days the horses were hauled around in a
stock truck, loaded by a steep ramp that provided the horses a place to catch
their corked shoes. Today the horses pull and there is seldom any breakage.
Things just seem to hold together. When Bob was pulling there were still a lot
of break downs…hames, tugs, hame straps, whippletrees and such. The changes from
farming with horses to horsepulling was an ideal opportunity to test all the
equipment as well as the will of the horses.
Bob Stimer favored lightweights back when that
meant 3000# and there were only lights and heavies. Likely his favorite team was
Bill & Duke, but Buster was in that mix as well. He pulled Bill over a decade
and Duke with him for five years.
Bob is a lot like the “horse jockey” of olden
times when someone in the community took on the task of keeping farmers supplied
with horses to make the farm go. Today Bob will dicker and deal some eighty to
one hundred horses (mostly Belgians & Percherons) about every year. At any given
time he may have a dozen or so horses on hand for immediate delivery.
In the early farming days the Stimer Farm would
have a few steers and had milk cows until 2000. They raised grain and hay to
feed the animals. Bob began using one of those handy horse trailers after the
transmission gave up on the old stock truck. He pulled horses until a mishap at
the Fryeburg (ME) Fair chased him back to horse trading a few years ago. You
will see him about at horsepulling contests of every kind and he enjoys every
moment of the experience