The 2019 Canadian Plowing Championship is heading to Ontario, in Sunderland from Oct. 2 to 4.
The annual event will have 14 senior competitors from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta competing for the title of Canadian Plowing Champion and the opportunity to compete at the 2020 World’s Ploughing Match held on Aug. 8 and 9 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Why it matters: Competition plowing gives farmers the opportunity to see other parts of the country and the world.
Two junior competitors, both from Ontario, will be competing for the title of Canadian Junior Plowing Champion and one-year tuition fees for Olds College in Olds, Alberta.
To qualify, competitors must place first or second at their provincial competition, and invites are extended to competitors who are also very close in points, decided by the Canadian organization.
In Ontario, participants compete at the International Plowing Match, so the Ontario competitors are not yet known.
There are two classes for the seniors to compete in, conventional and reversible plowing.
“We have five in the senior reversible class and nine in the conventional plowing this year,” says Barry Timbers, chair of Canadian Plowing Championship 2019 and 11-time Canadian Plowing Champion. “(Reversible plowing utilizes what’s) called a rollover plow and they just go back and forth on the same side all the time, but they plow on angles.”
Reversible plowmen plow similar to conventional with having to complete a crown and a finish, but they are plowing on an angle throughout the competition field.
Plowmen have half an acre, with a half hour to complete an opening split, which is judged first and then they are given 2.5 hours to plow the entire plot.
“The contestants are judged on straightness of furrows, uniformity of furrows, their ins and outs, ability to cover grass and stubble and their compaction,” says Timbers.
Although the competition is only three days long, the Durham Region has a week of events planned.
Sept. 28 a kick-off dance is taking place at the Sunderland Arena. Competitors will be arriving for the following few days and given time to practice as they arrive.
“Starting on Wednesday we are going to have opening ceremonies for the match, then plowing will commence and Thursday will be tours for spouses and other people involved with the organization,” says Gerrit Herrema, Durham Region Plowmen’s Association president.
Following the competition on Friday will be a banquet to announce the winners for the Junior, Senior Reversible, and Senior Conventional Canadian Plowing Champions.
Many Durham-region residents have gone on to compete in the world’s competition.
“The world championships have been in existence for 66 years. Of those 66 years, 30 times a plowman from the Region of Durham has won a Canadian Championship to move on and represented Canada at a world event — there is no other county or plowman’s association across Canada that can speak to that,” says Cheryl Timbers, general secretary for the Canadian Plowing Organization.
“I know that plowing has been a practice that isn’t used near as much in agriculture as it was 50 years ago but it’s still a practice that has been in agriculture, depending on your situation,” says Herrema. “It’s a great event, it’s an art form that has been lost in a lot of ways and the skill level that these competitors have is quite amazing in what they can do to make a land look pretty much perfect.”