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Horse-pulling remains a big part of life for Neosho County family
 

ERIE (AP) - A southeast Kansas man says his family doesn't compete in horse pulling for the money, even though they win their share of events. It's just plain fun.

Larry Woolery, of Thayer, worked his team at the draft-horse pull competition at Erie's Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion, which ran through Saturday night.

Woolery said that the prize money at such contests is usually just enough to pay for the gasoline to get there.

The best part about pulling is "coming out here and being able to visit with all these guys on the weekends," Larry said. He won three or four horse pulling competitions last year, but this was only his second time out this year.

"I haven't had a chance to work them - still have to make a living," he said. With harvest over, he expects to be able to compete more.

Larry's grandson, Justin Woolery, also of Thayer, is the fourth generation to compete. Grandfather and grandson alike have been involved in the sport most their lives.

"I just grew up around it, and my boy grew up right with it," Larry said. "My dad pulled for 50 years and I've pulled almost that long."

Justin said his grandfather and father got him into pulling, and he and his father have competed in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado.

The fun, he said, is being out and talking with people all summer long. It's not all fun, though, such as "when you make a bad drive. But most of the time it's nothing bad the horses do, it's the driver," Justin said.

Success hinges on being a good driver, which in turn depends on practice and having a good teacher.

"You just learn by watching and everything," he said.

He works with his horses daily for an hour or more on a driving sled so they get their exercise.

"Then we go to a pulling match on the weekends, if there is one."

The family fun now includes a brother-in-law, too.

Fred Robinson, of Galesburg, has been pulling for four years.

"I love it," he said. "There's pride if they work," he said of the horses, "and see if you can out-pull your friends."

Article courtesy of MorningSun.net



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