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Horse pull is a family tradition

By JESSICA STANTON • Staff Writer • September 28, 2008

COSHOCTON — Twenty-seven feet may not sound like much of a distance, but add 9,500 pounds or so and it may as well be a mile.

That was the distance of a full pull at the horse pulls at Sunday morning’s competition at the 157th Coshocton County Fair.

Keith Allender was the driver of the set of Belgiums that won the day. Allender has been pulling horses since he was 14, and his son is in on it now, too.

“It is born and bred in me. It’s in my blood,” Allender said. The horses he pulls, Rex and Pete, are worked out on sleds everyday, and hooked to heavy sleds about twice a week to practice.

And then you have the pulls. “I think we have been to 30 pulls this year,” Allender said.

There are two classes: lightweights and heavyweights. To pull in the lightweight class, the combined weight of the animals has to be under 3320 pounds. Horses pull a sled filled with cinder blocks, which is progressively made heavier until a winner exceeds the others.

According to Richard Douglas from Glouster, who placed second in the light weight competition pulling is a family tradition among his line. He said that a horse is at it’s prime to pull between the ages of seven and eleven, but usually can pull up until the age of 20.

Douglas’s horses are named Davey and Rex. They pull at horse pulls once or twice a week throughout the summer.

In Sunday’s pulls there were five lightweight entries and 11 heavyweight entries, from all over the state, and even a few from Kentucky.

Marcy Berger came from Bellevue to watch her son, Jeff, pull. She enjoys watching and is glad her son participates in it. “It’s nice for the guys to do because you get more than one generation together,” she said. “It’s a good place to be - out at the barn with your dad.”

First place in both classes paid out $350 and they paid out seven places, with last place receiving $200.

Dave Purvis from Lexington Kentucky won the light weight competition, with his horses pulling a full pull at 8,500 pounds.

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