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Fun, Oregon, now a ghost town


TIMOTHY J. GONZALEZ / Statesman Journal

Dawn Forman (left) guides her two Persheron/Belgian mix horses during the lightweight-draft-horse competition at the fairgrounds on Monday, the final day of the Oregon State Fair.


Draft-horse pulls cap off another year at the state fair

Statesman Journal
September 7, 2004

The Fun is done.

But that didn’t stop crowds from enjoying one last day at the Oregon State Fair on Monday in the hamlet of Fun, Oregon.

The last few hours of the fair’s nine-day run were filled with frantic attempts to finally win the large stuffed animal, eat one last deep-fried Twinkie or take one more spin on the Zipper.

Like the marathon at the Olympics, the draft-horse pulling competition at the Horse Arena capped the fair with a test of endurance.

Long before tractor pulls, horse people got together to determine the area’s strongest horse team. Monday’s event recaptured that era. Teams of Percherons and Belgians from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds pulled a sled weighing more than 2 1/2 tons as a crowd of about 500 cheered them on.

Randy Dodge of Albany earned some of the biggest cheers when Rex and Harley hauled 7,700 pounds of metal plates and sand almost 10 feet to win the middleweight division and finished with the top pull of the day.

“You’ve just got to have two horses that want to go,” Dodge said. “At home they’re both pretty mellow, but in competition, they feel it.”

Rex and Harley dug into the dirt, crouching and blasting into a leap to move the sled forward inch by inch.

Dawn Foreman of Boring competed with her Percheron and Belgian horses Belle and Bess. Foreman, who is seven months pregnant, and the horses finished second in the lightweight division, which has a maximum pulled weight of 5,200 pounds.

“Get on it,” she yelled at her team, pulling the reins tight as brown dirt flew in all directions. “Go girls. Dig into it.”

Foreman, a third-generation sled-puller, is proud to carry on the family tradition.

“This sport all started with horses pulling lumber, and then one guy said to the other, ‘My horse can pull more than your horse,’” she said. “Then it was on.”

Foreman’s father, Don Lee, guided Belle and Bess to the log-skidding competition championship, which requires horse teams to drag a bundle of logs through a course in a timed race.

Competing with and against family members is a common sight on the circuit, Foreman said. She and her family pull at four or five events per year.

The state fair competition, with its $1,000 top prize, always is a highlight for the family.

Lee and Foreman’s mother, Lori, finished fourth and third in their respective divisions. Foreman’s uncle and aunt, Gerald and Roberta Lee of Boring, finished second in the middleweight event, falling less than 7 feet shy of Dodge’s pull at 7,700 pounds.

“We don’t go on vacations or take trips,” Foreman said. “We come to the fair and pull.”

The warm but mild weather and enthusiastic crowds throughout the fair continued to the end.

Marketing manager Diane Childs said the 2004 fair seemed to be among the smoothest in recent memory.

She credited dedicated staff members and volunteers who keep coming back and try to make the fair better than the previous year’s.

Attendance numbers aren’t yet available.

Childs said that people seemed to respond to the marketing campaign built around the theme of Fun, Oregon.

She said that the city of Fun is gone for this year but that it would return in August.

Article courtesy of



Draft-horse pulling

Results Sunday of the draft-horse pulling event at the Oregon State Fair with horses, owner’s name and final weight pulled in pounds and distance if not a full pull.

Heavyweight: 1. Ace and Kenny, Bill Martson, 7,200; 2. Chucky and Bubba, Bob McGowan, 6,700; 3. Dick and Harry, Glen French, 6,200; 4. Pete and Pat, Donald Lee, 4,700 (6 feet, 1/2 inch); 5. Ruby and Roma, Howard Pazdral, 4,700 (3 feet, 5 1/4 inches).

Middleweight: 1. Rex and Harley, Randy Dodge, 7,700 (9 feet, 5 inches); 2. Pat and Ike, Gerald and Roberta Lee, 7,700 (2 feet, 6 1/2 inches); 3. Milton and Rowdy, 7,200 (7 feet, 9 inches).

Lightweight: 1. Benny and Snoopy, Bob McGowan, 5,200; 2. Belle and Bess, Dawn Foreman, 5,200 (4 feet, 6 inches); 3. Babe and Chub, Lori Lee, 4,700, (9 feet, 2 inches).

Singles (Lightweight): 1. Gandolf, Joel Harman, 1,200; 2. Honey, Joel Harman, 1,200. (Middleweight): 1. Milton, Randy Dodge 2,300; 2. Rex, Randy Dodge, 2,300 (14 feet). (Heavyweight): 1. Toby, Gerald and Roberta Lee, 2,800.


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