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3,000 pounds of ambition: Draft horses compete in Carl Wolfe Memorial

CHASEBURG - At 72, Lawrence Anderson Sr. figures he's been driving horses at least half his life. Lawrence, a semi-retired dairy farmer, works his team on the farm in Rockland, pulling a manure spreader or bean planter, but that's just to keep them in shape.

"These are no good for a farm team," he said. "They're too ambitious." 

Anderson hoped his team's ambition - 3,000 pounds worth - would pull him to victory Saturday in the Carl Wolfe Memorial horse pull, an event in honor of his late friend who died of leukemia in 2005 when he was 58.

"He was a good fellow," Lawrence said of his friend. "He should have lived longer."

Barb Wolfe said the family organized the charity event - in its sixth year - because Carl loved horses and everything about them.

Tyler Anderson got his grandfather's Belgians, Bill and Oogie, into their tack - collars and hames, tugs and belly bands. The 19-year-old said he never got into riding motorcycles or snowmobiles. Always preferred horses.

"He's got it in his blood," Lawrence said.

So do a lot of Andersons. Lawrence would be competing against his son Jim in the lightweight division. Lawrence Jr. also pulls, as do Jim's kids.

"It gets in your system," Jim said.

Nine teams took turns dragging the boat - in this case a flatbed Chevy on steel skids - across the infield of the American Legion Park, 27 feet at a time.

The air smelled of hay and horse sweat.

By the time the boat was loaded to 9,000 pounds there were four teams left. Jim Anderson doubted anyone would cross. The contest would come down to which team pulled the farthest.

The first made it less than two feet.

Dusty Sayles, a 25-year-old from Houston, Minn., went four.

Lawrence Anderson spotted - picking the best section of track but giving up any second chance. But he didn't get his horses far enough back to get momentum, and they managed barely more than a foot.

Jim Anderson spotted as well. He tamped down the infield dirt with his boot, led his team to the boat, and whispered encouragement - "Whish. Whish. Whish." - as his ladies, Lisa and Queen, strained against the harnesses. Then he called them off.

"Whoa!"

Twenty feet, eight inches. First place.

The first team made one more pull for just over two feet, then Sayles got his chance. Twenty-six feet, eight inches.

Anderson knew his horses could have pulled farther but said he prefers to call them off while they've got something left.

"I could have gone deep, but I saved my horses," he said. "They'll remember this."

 Lawrence Anderson of Bangor drives his team of Belgian horses while competing in Saturday's Carl Wolfe Memorial Horse Pull at Legion Park in rural Chaseburg. PETER THOMSON photo

 

Article courtesy of LaCrosseTribune.com



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