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2010 Inductee

Everett Harrison
Pickford, Michigan

Everett Harrison - for the Michigan Draft Horsepullers Hall of Fame

Born in 1922, when Everett began pulling horses, he and the Chief Wawatam would smoke their way across the Straits of Mackinac.  Remember, the BIG MAC didn't open until 12957 and until then a ferry boat was the only way to get to the Lower Peninsula for a contest.  More then once Everett would be grabbing a few winks and if someone didn't wake him in time, the ferry boat would go without him and his horses.

Horses were always special to Everett.  When he was 13 years old he began working in a Michigan lumbering camp.  He rented a team of horses from his uncle for the task.  Everett got paid $10 a week to work at the camp.  They charged him $5 a week to stay there.  He paid his uncle $3 a week rent for the horses.  That left him $2 payment for a week's work, but he was doing what he wanted to do. 

Everett's son Joe also pulls horses.  Joe claims, that his "Dad always made me go to the horsepulling contests with him.  He said he couldn't trust me enough to behave if I stayed home.  He had more faith in my brother and sisters.  They never had to go to horsepulling contests with him so they never got caught up in the "horsepulling fever."

In 1975 Everett Harrison retired from his Civil Service career.  He was a Heavy Equipment Operator for the Air Force. 

Following retirement, pulling horses became his full time job.  He pulled horses in Indiana, Illinois, S. Carolina and Maine until his beloved received her Civil Service retirement.  They immediately made a run for the Upper Peninsula.  For this trip they were made to use BIG MAC.  As far as they knew, the EPA had sunk the Chief Wawatam in the Straits of Mackinac...at least all that smoke was gone from the environment. 

Joe began hooking eveners when he was 12 (later he became more trustworthy).  For those who have never experienced the Upper Peninsula, it can be a different world.   Most modern folks can't recall the ferry boats from a half century ago. 

The Harrisons did everything with the horses at the old home place...worked the soil, crops, hay, manure, anything a horse could do was done by them.  Joe Harrison remembers, "We bought a tractor and the only thing we ever did with it was hook the horses to it.  In the early pulling days a stock truck was used to haul the horses from one place to another.  Back in the 1960s we built an old trailer to haul the horses and went on from there.

Joe remembers, "Dad's first pull was in Pickford.  If Everett went to the Stalwart Fair he would drive his horses down the day before and stay over Friday night, let them rest that night, then they would pull horses on Saturday, stay over Saturday night, then drive the horse home on Sunday.

Dad used to make five trips each week from Pickford to Rudyard taking horses, hay, logs, whatever needed moving.  Rudyard was about 14 miles and was where the railroad picked up freight.  Everett had a contract for moving the horses and supplies to other places.  He always had a good attitude about things and horses just made him smile and feel good.  Any pull where he could drop a tailgate made him happy."

Barney was one of Everett's favorite horses.  He had been a part of the team for years.  It was a sad time when old Barney required more medical help then was available, back about the same time that Everett was passing the lines on to Joe.  If Everett could make a hundred dollars at a horsepull then he would head for the next one.  That would cover the gas and eats. 

For the past decade, at the Kinross Fair, they present a trophy in honor of Everett Harrison.  They draw a ticket that identifies either the barrels or the flags events and make the award accordingly.  Everett would like that.  The rest of us think that is pretty cool as well.  If Everett suddenly appeared here he might say, "If they are not ready now, they will never be ready..."



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