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2008 Inductee

Bob Stimer
Jackson, Michigan

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 opportunity.

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

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