Conley's Horse Photos

2022 US Draft Horse and Mule

Plowing Contest


The 2022 US Draft Horse and Mule Plowing Contest was held on Saturday October 22rd this year. Despite Mike's recent surgery for lung cancer, the contest was held at the farm of Mike and Joyce Downs in Olympia, Kentucky. This is the 6th time the event was held there. Just like last year, the contestants didn't have to deal with any weather related problems this year as the conditions were almost perfect with sunshine and temperatures in the mid 70's on competition day. There had been almost no rain over the past month, but the fields had been in soybeans until just prior to the event and weren't so hard that the plowing was too difficult. The bean straw proved to be a bigger problem than the dryness. The ground turned over fairly easy and broke up rather than forming chunks. As usual for this event, a 3 judge panel was employed to judge the 7 classes. Judges had 10 categories to judge and gave each contestant up to 10 points in each category. A total of up to 300 points were available to each contestant in a class (100 per judge) with the overall "winner" being the contestant with the highest point total across all classes. It feels like I'm repeating old news, but the high point winner again this year was Mike Atkins from eastern Ohio. Mike has made a career out of winning this honor many times over the life of this event. The 2nd place high point score was a tie with the father/son duo of Mike and Tyler Orme tying one another for this honor. The judges conferred and awarded 2nd place to Tyler, although from the smile on his dad's face, you know that Mike was proud to lose to his son. As has become her habit, Doris Mosher from Ohio again awarded special halters and/or lead ropes to both the class winners and the runners up to show her appreciation for the camaraderie and the sportsmanship that this event epitomizes. Doris no longer competes herself, but acts as swamper for her son Chris. Finally, there was a contingent of students from Berea College in attendance along with their faculty advisor. They tried their hand at plowing which is something their program doesn't normally include as they concentrate more on sustainable forestry using horses.

The group expressed a heartfelt thank you to Mike and Joyce Downs for again hosting this event. It takes a lot of work to put something like this on and with help from several of their neighbors, everything went very smoothly. We ask that you add Mike and Joyce to your prayer list as Joyce is going in for knee replacement surgery on the 1st of November and Mike begins a long series of radiation treatments and chemotherapy on November 8th. Despite these handicaps, Mike announced that it is their intention to again host this event next year, God willing and the creek don't rise!



Click the links below to see photos from this event!

Competition Day ...

The Awards Ceremony

A DVD with a slideshow of all of the photos displayed for this event is available for $35 including shipping. 

Individual photos are also available for purchase!  Contact us or click here for more information about ordering.


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