The countdown until the 60th World Plowing Championship is on, and Alberta’s very own Olds College is hosting the event as part of its centennial celebrations. Olds College turns 100 in 2013, and a series of major events is being held to commemorate it throughout the year. The international plowing event will be held on campus July 19 – 20.
“We expect 60 plowpersons from 31 different countries. It’s more than just plowing. There’s going to be horse plowing, we’ll have about 400 vintage displays, we’re going to have entertainment, demonstrations in the dirt, a farmers’ market, and a trade show, so it will be a big activity taking place at the college,” said Kerry Moynihan, centennial general manager at Olds College.
The competition is more about the art that lives in the details of plowing in homage to both tradition and practicality.
“There’s plowing on grasslands and stubble and they do it over two days, and it’s basically a combination of how straight your furrow is, the depth of the furrow, and it has to overlay in a certain way. It’s not a matter of speed, but you are given a certain amount of time,” said Moynihan. It’s more of a look back on agriculture, and a salute to excellence and precision.”
Moynihan attended the last two world championships in research and preparation for Canada’s chance to host the event. He went to Sweden in 2011, and has just returned from Croatia from the 2012 event. He was surprised at what a following the star plowers have.
“The Europeans all have their fan clubs. The Germans, the Croatians, the Swedish — they all dress up in their gear and they have their keg of beer at the end of the plows, sitting on a straw bale playing music, so it’s quite colourful,” Moynihan said.
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Celebrations begin in March with the Young Farmers of Alberta awards, followed by the traditional gala, which Moynihan hopes the prime minister and governor general will attend. A major equine event is being held in April at the new equine facility, and the Alberta 4-H clubs will hold their provincial public-speaking competition at the college in the same month.
In June, there are two major events planned. “First we have our J.C. Jack Anderson Charity Auction from June 21 – 23. We’re going to auction off 100 antique automobiles donated to us by Jack Anderson, one of our donors. We expect 3,000 people here from all over the world to bid on these cars,” said Moynihan. “That same weekend we have a large community celebration, which is the community’s chance to say thank you to the college. That will include a spectacular outdoor laser show, custom designed and a bunch of other activities.”
A golf tournament will be held in September, and an alumni homecoming in October will round off the celebratory events. There are several items being sold to commemorate the occasion as well.
“We just finished a 424-page history book of the college which goes by chapter from 1913 to 2013, so it’s jam packed with pictures. We’ve just been awarded a commemorative envelope by Canada Post, and hopefully that will be launched sometime in February,” said Moynihan, adding a centennial rose and lily has been cultivated just for the college as well.
For more information on the plowing event, visit www.worldplowing2013.com.