The 182nd Genesee County Fair kicked off Friday with the North American Six-Horse Classic Hitch Series Class.
The Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series has reportedly become the most prestigious draft horse event on the continent. Thousands of spectators have cheered on the tremendous draft horse hitches at venues such as Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, the Calgary Stampede, the Michiana Event Center, and the Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts.
Six gleaming one-ton horses create a spectacle as they stomp into the arena as one, outfitted in patent leather and chrome harness, pulling the historically restored freight wagons. Crowds can literally feel the earth tremble as the massive hitches pass by.
Each year, six horse hitches across the United States and Canada compete at state and county fairs and agricultural exhibitions to accumulate points for the Classic Series.
Close to 200 hitches travel within their region and beyond, competing at nearly 80 qualifying shows throughout North America.
The competition builds to a climax at the end of the series when the five highest point hitches in each of three breed classifications are invited to compete for up to $100,000 in premiums for the Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series Finals.
This year Draft Horse Superintendents Dave Dermody and Mark Barie were able to secure 10 six-horse hitch teams. These teams will be performing two exciting competitions showcasing their gentle giants. Teams traveled this year from Indiana, Quebec, California, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, and New York.
Pictured above is the winner of tonight’s North American six-horse hitch Classic, Jackson Fork Ranch Percherons LLC. from Little Jackson Hole, Wyo. The driver was Reece Mengels.
For a complete fair schedule, click here.
Photos by Steve Ognibene.