Mountains of muscle: Fair horse pulling
Weighing in at about
4,500 pounds, Tony and Bob were definitely some of the biggest guys found at the
fair Monday afternoon, and definitely some of the most hard working. Although
they spend a lot of time under a shade tree, Tony and Bob spent much of the
afternoon at the fair hauling around 4,000 ... 5,000 ... and even 6,000 pounds
But being amongst 14 other teams of Belgian horses participating in the horse
pulling competition, Tony and Bob found themselves in good company.
|At just 18 years
old, Mack Erickson, of the Kalkaska area, was one of the youngest
pullers at the horse pull that took place Monday at the Emmet-Charlevoix
County Fair. Here he drives his team, Bob and Tom, pulling some 4,000
green," explained their driver, Alfred Moblo of East Jordan. "We probably won't
pull much, but we'll look good."
Of course, not pulling much for this team doesn't mean much when they're hauling
thousand-pound bricks of concrete, something Moblo couldn't do without them.
"It's an elimination process and they keep eliminating until there's only one
(team) left," said Terry Moblo, Alfred's son. "They start out with about 4,000
pounds and keep adding."
The real trick is not just hauling the additional weight, but having to haul it
27 and a half feet from the starting point.
And for Alfred Moblo, his job is trying to handle the 4,500-pound team without
them getting carried away with their job and taking him with them, sometimes
leaving behind what they were meant to pull.
"Really, the most important thing is how you start them. If they're uneven, they
won't do very well," he said.
Lou Jerrick of Vanderbilt added that drivers have to be careful that the horses
are hooked right, because more than likely the second they're hooked, they'll
"Makes your arms that much longer if you miss that hook," he said with a laugh.
But for those sitting in the grandstand watching this display of horse power,
the fact remains unknown just how much work it takes for a team to get to this
Moblo, for example, works his horses every day for at least three hours. It's a
training process, much like body building, that helps the horses to build up
their pulling capacity.
"The toughest thing is to get up and work them every day," admits Mack Erickson,
who brought two teams up from the Kalkaska area to compete.
But for this 18-year-old, the youngest of the drivers at Monday's competition,
and for all the other drivers, horse pulling isn't about the work put in.
"I really enjoy it. It's a little hobby of mine," Erickson said, recalling
working along his father when he was just knee high. "It definitely keeps you
Sherri Huffman of East Jordan first learned about training pulling horses while
helping her husband, Bill. It wasn't long before the sport hooked her interests,
"These guys are a handful," she said of her team, Duke and Don. "It's fun
though, and these guys are awesome to follow behind."
Of course, with only about 175 horse pairs and about 80 pullers in the state of
Michigan, drivers don't just get to know their horses, but all the other drivers
And for Huffman, being one of the few women who run the circuit, she has more to
handle than just a team of horses. She has to hold her own with the guys as
"These guys are a heck of a group of guys," she said smiling.
"We're like family here," Jerrick added.
Article courtesy of Petosky News-Review