Ready to roll
Participants of the Ottawa Carleton Plowing Match mustered machinery in preparation for the plowing competition.     Van Dusen photo

Sharen Armstrong, president of the Ottawa Carleton Plowmen’s Association, welcomed visitors to the Ottawa Carleton Plowing match on Aug. 24 and 25. Van Dusen photo

by Tom Van Dusen
AgriNews Staff Writer
MANOTICK–The number of plowmen was down from last year but the 2018 Ottawa Carleton Plowing Match Aug. 24 to 25 opposite SunTech Greenhouses, Manotick, has been declared a success.

“The weather was great and the plowing was exceptional,” said Sharen Armstrong, president of the Ottawa Carleton Plowmen’s Association. “We had 14 plowmen, about 10 less than last year because other county matches were on the same weekend. We sold 56 tickets for the roast beef banquet Saturday night which was inside the greenhouse. It was excellent.”

Activities during the two-day match included VIP plowing, barbecue, horse, antique and conventional plowing, exhibits, a second barbecue, and the banquet. Among exhibitors was Doug Leach with his line of mini tractors made from discarded sewing machines.

Based in Perth, Leach salvages old Singers and other brands, makes a base that he sets on lawnmower wheels, creates fenders from frying pans cut in half and seats from bent spatulas, and applies trademark paint colours to them. Each sells for about $300 and he’s now getting custom orders.

Part of Ontario’s agricultural history for more than a century, plowing matches provide an opportunity for farmers to display their skills and teach the importance of soil conservation. Participants’ efforts are scored in 10 areas, with the final score being out of 200 for tractors and 180 for horses. The scores are used to determine who can move on to the annual rotating International Plowing Match.

The Ottawa Carleton group is part of the Ontario Plowing Association and promotes agriculture in the region. Since 2002, the local association has organized the Plowing for a Cure golf tournament raising money for health care and research, and it supports 4-H across the region.

Armstrong has been president for the past eight years. She’d be glad to turn the position over to someone else at the annual meeting in November but will remain in place if no one steps up.