WALTON — The International Plowing match marked its 100th year in 2013 and again this year in Huron County. The IPM began in 1913 but skipped five years, included four during the Second World War, leaving organizers with two dates to celebrate.
Eleven area landowners hosted the 1,000-acre spectacle that included about 500 exhibitors and vendors. This year’s match, held from Sept. 19–23, was interrupted on the first day by a sudden storm that erupted when the visiting politicians were due to speak, leading organizers to cancel the second day to allow the muddy streets to dry.
New attractions this year included The Knights of Valour, an Ontario organization that performs live medieval jousting on horses, an extremely popular draw, said chair Jacqui Bishop. The match also hosted an extreme motorcycle show, a husband and wife duo who perform midair stunts and precision tricks, along with their five-year-old son. The match included square-dancing tractors from Bruce County, and a 4-H livestock show. In a one-off, Brussels held its rural fair inside the tented city.
It all helped spark a remarkable resurgence in the popularity of the match itself, Bishop said. There were more than 200 plowing competitors, a number that the fair hasn’t seen “in many, many years,” she said.
Next year’s IPM will be held in Chatham-Kent.