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Published November 12, 2013, 03:05 PM

West Fargo, N.D., could bid to host world plowing event

The Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo, N.D., is considering whether to bid for the World Plowing Championship in 2019.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

The Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo, N.D., is considering whether to bid for the World Plowing Championship in 2019.

Bryan Schulz, general manager of the fair, says the organization is looking at the opportunity and will decide in the next two to three months whether to apply to host the event. A U.S. contingent of the World Ploughing Organization board of directors recently visited the Fargo area. Another site in Ohio is also looking at the opportunity.

The annual event hasn’t been in the U.S. since September 1988, when it was held in Amana, Iowa. It was held in Alberta in 2013, and will be in France in 2014, Denmark in 2015, England in 2016, Kenya in 2017 and Germany in 2018.

Schulz says the event host would have to raise more than $1 million to attract the competition. A committee will meet Nov. 19 to discuss the feasibility of applying. The fair, North Dakota State University and the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau are among those involved.

Schulz says the event involves 31 teams from around the world that compete in two types of plowing — sod plowing and regular plowing. Teams bring their own tractors and their own plows, shipped in cargo containers. Teams arrive as much as a month prior to the event. Many teams and spectators turn the trip into a vacation, so the hosting event lines up five- and 10-day vacation packages.

Teams use two- and three-furrow moldboard plows — conventional or reversible — fitted with a maximum of one coulter, one skimmer and one share per body. Global positioning systems and other aids are not allowed. The conventional competitors plow on plots of 20 meters wide and 100 meters long.

Competitors are judged on work completed in a total of three hours, including the opening and plowing. They are judged on such things as the “opening split” — completeness and ridges; general work for making a seed bed; neatness; weed control; straightness and general appearance.

Schulz says that if the Red River Valley Fair hosts the event, it would be scheduled in August to avoid conflicts with the fair itself, and with the Big Iron trade show, which is held in early September. The competition would use the fairgrounds as a competition site, but some of the competition would be held on area farms within “a 30-minute tractor drive” from the fairgrounds. Events at the plowing competition would have to be coordinated so they would complement the later field demonstrations at Big Iron, Schulz says.

According to its website, the WPO is the parent organization of Competitive Ploughing Worldwide and aims to “foster and preserve the art and improve the skill of ploughing the land.”

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