This summer the National Plowing Contest will be taking place at the LeRoy Fett farm south of Tea on August 3 and 4. Sanctioned by the USA Plowing Organization, the National Plowing Contest is held every year in a different state, and 2018 is South Dakota’s turn to host, says USA Plowing Organization President John Gaard, of Chancellor.
Gaard expects to see 50 competitors from eight states come together to take part in the contest. Contestants from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland will come to compete in six different classes. He said the location at the LeRoy and Doris Fett farm offers a perfect location for the event. With large cottonwood trees that mark the location of the homesteading tree claim, bales to sit on, farm displays and concessions available, spectators can enjoy watching the competitors as they plow. The LeRoy Fett Farm is located at the corner of 274th St. and 470th Ave., spectators can bring lawn chairs and there is no admission charge.
Gaard competes himself in the open class. He comes from a family of farmers. He said he restored his grandpa Lloyd Gaard’s tractor in High School.
“I watched the guys at the threshing show in Lennox. It was fun to see the soil go over the moldboards and I thought it would be something fun to try out,” Gaard said.
He added that his grandpa didn’t compete but was a good ploughman.
“Grandma said he would spend more time fixing the plow than in the field,” he said smiling.
Gaard is the son of David and Elva (Fett) Gaard.
His uncle, Ed Fett helped him to get started in the plowing contests.
The South Dakota Ploughing Association and the Fett family have been diligently planning the National Plowing Contest since last fall. 70 acres of cereal rye were seeded last fall and will be combined before the contest. Competitors will start arriving on the Wednesday before the contest to practice on the rye stubble.
Contestants will compete in the Open Class, Antique Class, Junior Class, Garden Tractor Class, Small Plow Class, and Reversible Class. Equipment to pull the plows will range from garden tractors to antique tractors to modern front-wheel-assist utility tractors. The Small Plow and Reversible classes are sure to draw extra interest this year as the winners of those two classes will represent the USA at the 2019 World Plowing Contest, which will be held at Lake of the Woods, Minnesota.
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