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Michigan premium situation
    I have heard that the state of Michigan has decided to not fund fair premiums this year. I'm concerned this could lead to a vicious cycle. No state funds = lower horsepulling premium money = less entries = less spectators = fairs deciding to do away with horsepulling. How do you feel the state's decision might effect horsepulling in Michigan this year?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 06:32 PM
people we need your support for 4-h and any events that resolves around the states premium money. please write in and voice your opinion.It can be changed if enough people voice in . Ben

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 09:34 PM
Michigan's premiums have been the cream of the crop for all of these years and lots of us have gone there and been paid better premiums than are offered in most states. Now that times are hard all over and especially in Michigan with all of the auto crisis you have to look at the overall picture and decide what to do. I think that all the people that have pulled there all the years when the money was good should show their loyalty and continue to support the Michigan pulls. It is certainly not the fault of the Michigan associations that their funding has been cut off. What do you think?

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 03:07 PM
This article below will give you some idea how the State of Michigan's decision to cut the premium money from the fairs this year will effect the fairs:

BAD AXE —Members of the Huron Community Fair board met Wednesday night for a special meeting, following official word that Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s executive order eliminated money that county fairs across the state were expecting to receive this year.

In past years, the state has matched premiums paid to Huron County 4-H and FFA members up to 60 percent, with the fair kicking in the remaining 40 percent for projects exhibited at the fair.

Because the state will not be matching those funds, the Huron Community Fair board members agreed Wednesday night they could not afford to make up the 60 percent cut. They do plan, though, to pay the 40 percent they traditionally paid, but in some cases, they agreed to cut premiums all together.

For those members of the Junior Livestock Association, Small Livestock Association and those who sell milk from the grand and reserve champion dairy cows during the fair, there will be no premium paid this year.

The board said for 4-H and FFA members who sell an animal or milk during the fair, the money they receive from the sale will have to do. Those 4-Hers and FFA members will not receive an additional premium.

“Most of these kids come to the fair because it’s fun and they look forward to it all year long. It’s not the couple dollars they might get in a premium.” said Orin Engelhardt, fair board president.

The group then began to work its way through each of the events where premiums are paid out to try to alleviate the problem at hand.

Also impacted by the cut is the annual draft horse pull. For the past few years, the horse pull has consisted of both heavy and lightweight horses. Denny Engelhardt, fair board member, said the state cutting the premiums for the horse pull by 60 percent will effect the pull in a “bad way.”

In 2008, the fair paid out $3,000 to horse pullers for light and heavyweights for placing. During the night of the draft horse pull, grandstand ticket sales only brought in $891. After a brief discussion, the board agreed it would have to make some sort of a change.

Denny Engelhardt said he’d rather get rid of one of the pulling groups and keep the payout higher due to the fact the horsepullers are traveling from far away to compete.

“If we drop the heavyweights, we can still afford to pay decent for the lightweights,” he said. “I’m hearing there’s no other pull that day. I’d hate to lose them all if the money isn’t there for anyone.”

The board agreed that while the cuts are tough to swallow, the Huron Community Fair is not alone.

“Other fairs are hurting the same as we are over this,” said Fred Karg, fair board vice president.

As for the draft horse halter show, the board agreed the payout this year will be decreased by 60 percent because of the state cuts.

“We paid out $700 last year for the draft horses,” said Jeanette Hagen, the board’s accountant. “The carriage class paid out $1,500.”

The board agreed to cut the draft horse halter class, but to leave the carriage class untouched, due to the fact the carriage class draws a crowd that pays to watch.

Orin Engelhardt said he anticipated being able to find donations to help make up the money they will need to pay for the carriage class.

And for those people who look forward to an afternoon of harness racing, board secretary Sandy Kinney said due to state cuts, there will be just one day of harness racing. The board will only be able to host the Colt Stakes Harness Race on Monday of the fair.

“Money for the Colt Stakes will stay the same this year because that money is all paid by the guys who are racing; this isn’t affected by the state cuts,” said Kinney. “(However,) Tuesday harness racing at the fair is gone due to these state cuts.”

Many of the events the fair hosts in the grandstands, like the annual truck and tractor pull, will remain untouched, since the state stopped contributing money to help support those events a few years ago.

All 4-H and FFA shows and exhibits, including open class premiums, will be reduced by 60 percent.

“It’s over,” said Richard Stokan, fair board member. “Now this money is gone, we will never get state funding again. Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back.”

The Huron Community Fair will take place July 26 through Aug. 1. The fair is a week earlier this year due to a scheduling conflict caused by the former midway provider. A new midway provider, Elliott’s Amusement, will provide rides and games this year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 08:42 PM
Prmium reimbursement for county and state fairs in Michigan took a dramatic turn within the past several weeks. Fairs have been receiving approximately 60% of the previous years premiums in the early spring. These funds were then used for the current year premiums. This program coverd all premiums, 4-H and Open Class, not just horse pulling. This actions was totally expected in 2010, not in 2009! Fair boards are currently trying to determine the best course of action for their entire fair. The Michigan Dynamometer Association is working with each fair to establish a pulling schedule. This may not be finalized until mid June or later. Simply put, it's time to work together and readjust. Your support as a spectator and or a puller is vitall. The Michigan Draft Horse Breeders Association, The Michigan Dynamometer Association and The Michigan Great Lakes International continue to work through The Michigan Equine Partnership Political Action Committee to reinstate fair premium reinbursement. The Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions is also hard at work for the same goal. The 2009 Michigan Great Lakes International is a definite go! Premiums will be paid.

Friday, July 3, 2009 at 05:24 AM
In answer to the statement that out of state teams are not wanted at the better paying pulls. The pulling associations do not make that rule. That comes from the fair. At this time there are only one or two fairs left that make it a state teams only contest. Don Darnell Michigan Horsepulling Boat Association

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