Draft horse plowing is a family affair

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BOTKINS, Ohio – Fourteen-year-old Luke Shroyer of Botkins, Ohio, surprised a few people and pleased a lot more when he won the Ohio State Draft Horse Plowing Match at the Agricultural Science Review Sept. 21.
Luke, a high school freshman, won not only the team class, but was the overall high point scorer.
The team of white Percheron draft horses Luke won with are only one and two years younger than he is. They all grew up together.
Family affair. Luke’s grandfather, Ralph Shroyer, keeps two teams on the 80-acre Shroyer family farm where Luke’s father, Curt, grew up and learned his draft horse skills. They both had a good teacher in Ralph who has won his share of plowing matches.
In fact, he was in third place behind Luke. Since Curt won last year, he was ineligible this year for the team class, but placed third in the three horse hitch.
There were three generations of the Shroyer family out there plowing and they all finished in the money.
Mrs. Shroyer was quite proud of her boys, and not without good reason.
Luke is a good student in school, a member of the FFA, his school track team, and now perhaps somewhat of a celebrity in the neighborhood.
After all, how many high schools in the country can boast of having a state draft horse plowing champion, and a freshman at that.
Good teachers. Luke has seen his father and grandfather win plowing matches with grace and humility. And Luke is not the first person they have tutored.
They are not mug hunters or trophy collectors – their mission is to promote, preserve, and pass on draft horse skill and traditions to all who care to learn.
Next Labor Day Luke will represent Ohio in the National Draft Horse Plowing Match.
In the meantime, he fills the bill for an ambassador for the draft horse industry and someone to encourage his peers to step up and try their hand at driving a team of horses and plowing a piece of land.
Winners. Winners at the Ohio State Draft Horse Plowing Match include: two-horse team – first place, Luke Shroyer of Botkins; second, Roger Vogel of Georgetown, Ohio; and third, Ralph Shroyer of Anna, Ohio.
Three-horse team winners include: first place, Mike Atkins of Lucasville, Ohio; second, David Wilson of Willowood, Ohio; and third place, Curt Shroyer Botkins.
Winners of the gang plow were: first place, Fred Judy of Dundee, Ohio, and second place, Bill Begg of Bluffion, Ohio.
Walking plow winners included: first place, George Fuller of Pedro, Ohio; second, Lou Rebensdorf of Winchester, Ohio; and third, Mike McConnick of Wilmington, Ohio.

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