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Heavyweight horsepulling record intact despite valiant bid from holders

First place in the heavyweight horse pull at the Hillsdale County Fair came down to a matter of inches Tuesday morning.

A single inch, to be more specific.

The team of Chris Hatfield, from Cromwell, Ky., and Terry Yoder, a Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.-native,  edged out Scott Fisher and Dennis Weinberger, pulling 4,850 pounds 27 feet. The Fisher-Weinberger duo mustered a pull of 26-11. 

“Any time you can come to Hillsdale and hook a record load, it’s an honor,” Hatfield said. “It was a good pull.”
The record is 4,850 pounds pulled 27 feet, 6 inches.

Twelve teams competed in the event.

Having added to their more than half-decade of dominance, winning the heavyweight pull for the sixth consecutive year, Hatfield said the fair was one of the events his team prepared hardest for.

“You can’t go all out for all of them,” Hatfield said. “This one is special— we wanted to be ready.”

Aiming for a world record on the second of three attempts, Hatfield and Yoder appeared to have their best start of the morning, before one of the horses stumbled, leaving the team six inches from a world record.

“Once his foot twisted, he slipped,” Hatfield said of the horse.  “The track was good, given the conditions.”
The Yoder-Hatfield duo still own the world record, pulling 4800 pounds 29-11 at the fair in 2007.

In all, six teams hooked to the record load, which event organizers believed to be a record.

“Any of the teams that hooked (to the load) could have won,” Hatfield said.

Ed Finley finished third, pulling the 4850-pound load 16 feet. The Keegan and Grad duo recorded a fourth-place finish, with a pull of 11-1.

Hillsdale’s Gene Sellers finished fifth, pulling the final load 8-6 on his second attempt. Rounding out the finalists, Ron and Russ Oakleaf finished sixth, with a pull of 7 feet.

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