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                                                              2006 Inductee


                                                                          Clare Stahl

Clare Stahl was named to the Michigan Horsepuller's Hall of Fame in 2006, one of the three honored in this second year of the Hall's history. 

Clare Stahl covered the entire draft horse industry.  He received his early horse driving experience by driving a team on a riding cultivator.  The Stahl family was made up of serious farm folks.  It was later that "pulling competition" began taking center stage on the Stahl agenda. 

Once horsepulling got started with the Stahl's, nearly everything else took a back seat.  Clare enjoyed telling the story about his wife's chickens and how proud she was of them.  Then one day she sold every chicken on the place.  It was shortly after that chicken sale that Clare saw a horse that he just "had to have". 

It took every bit of his persuasive abilities to get that chicken money from her so he could get that horse he wanted.  He had to make her a lot of promises to get that particular horse and she enjoyed reminding him of it for years even after the horse had left their farm. 

Clare Stahl was intense in every horse related thing he did.  He was intense when he farmed with horses, when he pulled in competition and when he progressed into other aspects within the horsepulling arena.  After maturing out of pulling competitions Clare jumped right into working with the associations.  He worked to always improve the quality of the contests and to get the prize money to a level that brought in the best teams and spectators. 

As he worked to improve sportsmanship, prize money and fair play he was also working with the younger association members to be alert for new contests that could be added to their schedule.  He kept growing in his professionalism within the association and the industry until the end of his life. 

As Clare kept things growing and improving the number and quality of events he moved into the judging and managing the different contests that captured his interest.  One long running example of his dedication and his philosophy of horsepulling was focused on Ionia.  The Ionia Free Fair has a long history of producing well run and quality competition.  Clare worked for years to fertilize and cultivate that rich soil along the river through the Ionia Fairgrounds. 

His dedication to every facet of working with people through the communications that are encouraged through draft horse involvement credited by some to be one of the reasons that so many young people are grabbing those pulling lines and keeping this sport leading the way.  He honors every level of his life and the learning that permitted him to contribute at every level as he grew into it. 

Photo courtesy of Cecil E. Darnell

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