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Duo sweeps heavyweight competition as horse pull enjoys near-record turnout

THE VILLAGES — It was a banner day for the team of Lake Panasoffkee’s Terry Yoder and Chris Hatfield of Upton, Ky., Sunday at the Southern Draft Horse Association World Championship Horse Pull at The Villages Polo Club.

The pair teamed up to sweep the first two places in the heavyweight division and the three teams it had in the lightweight division finished first, third and fourth.

Hatfield really liked the duo’s chances going into the event.

“You have got to have confidence,” Hatfield said. “We knew our heavyweights could do it and in the lightweights, we had won 9-of-11 pulls.”

The team of Bob and Herb got the Yoder/Hatfield combination off to a great start in the lightweight (teams under 3400 combined pounds) division. They turned in a flawless effort as they escalated the scale to pull 4,300 pounds. The 4,300 pounds broke the lightweight record.

For Bob, it was the third consecutive year that he has been part of the winning team in The Villages.

The Carolina Connection’s team of Barney and Wilbur finished second. The team had won the Florida State Fair Championship in Tampa.

The Yoder/Hatfield team of Duke and Bud finished third and its team of Fred and Barney placed fourth.

In the heavyweight division, Roger and Oscar successfully pulled 4,700 pounds the required 20 feet to win the event. The team had managed only 8 feet, 11 inches on the first pull at the weight.

Finishing second was the Yoder/Hatfield team of Smuck and Buck, which moved the weight 15 feet, 10 inches. Third place went to the Kentucky-based team of Ray Powell and Son. The team of Tater and Beans moved the load 10 feet, 3 inches.

It was the second year in a row that Oscar had been a part of the winning team in The Villages.

Roger is a huge horse, even by draft-horse standards. He weighs in at 2,910 pounds and stands 20 hands.

“The Amish breed for his size,” Yoder said. “The Amish settlements breed the horses to get bigger and bigger to work on the farm. We had an opportunity to go on the farms in Indiana searching for the right horse.”

Yoder said the secret to their success was teaming the horses properly.

“We worked hard to find the right horses to work together,” Yoder said. “We’ve been doing a good job all year. You can have two great horses together, but if they don’t work together as a team they don’t win.”

Yoder said the draft-horse competition that comes to Florida is top-notch.

“You get the very best of the very best,” Yoder said. “You win here and you can win anywhere.”

Hatfield agreed with his partner.

“It is as tough as it can be,” Hatfield said “It doesn’t get any tougher.”

Don Waggoner, the director of The Villages Polo Club was ecstatic about the success of the event.

“It was close to a record turnout,” Waggoner said. “The weather helped us a lot — it was a gorgeous day. The competition was probably the best we ever had and 1,785 people showed up to enjoy it.”

Article courtesy of: The Villages Daily Sun

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