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JONESVILLE Hard work, well-bred horses and a great right-hand man helped Tom Brown of Jonesville become a champion at a recent prestigious horse pull.
His right-hand man, Tim Newell, took first place at the Hillsdale County Fair National Lightweight Horse Pulls at the end of September with horses, Norm and Dan.
"Hillsdale is always a prestigious pull," Brown said. "That's where all the records are set."
Placing teams came from within the county, Grand Ledge, Ind. and even Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Brown said for the last few years, the pull has been won by an out-of-towner with expensive horses, and it feels good to have won again.
"It's quite an accomplishment for a little local boy," he said. "It's tough to beat (those teams), whoever you are. I'm guessing some teams has about $70,000 invested in them."
Pulling isn't just a hobby; it's Brown's business.
Horses are worked six days a week. They practice pulls until winter, when they are put to work logging, which is good training for younger horses.
Brown buys the horses at a young age, gets them well-trained and then sells them.
Keeping the animals in good health is a high priority.
"If they get a little cough, we're right on it," Brown said. "They're treated like a million bucks."
He takes three or four teams to all his competitions, and travels to Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Iowa for horse pulls.
Brown has been competing for nearly 30 years, participates in 50 to 60 pulls a year and usually wins about 30 contests.
"We go wherever there's a horse pull," he said.
But he's got to give credit where credit is due.
"Without (Newell) I couldn't do this," Brown said. "He's here every day. I don't have to worry when I'm gone. The horses are always (well-cared for). He's been with me nine years, and he's one of the best helpers I've ever had. Tim is my right-hand man."

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