European ploughing comp comes to chad territory

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If you are a sports fan then events such as the FA Cup and Grand Prix are not to be missed.

But this weekend a prestigious international competition was held in our very own Warsop - the 16th European Vintage Ploughing Championships.

Thirty traditional ploughing enthusiasts from ten different countries descended on the Chad area for the contest featuring tractors and ploughs built no later than 1965.

Each entrant had three hours to plough between one and two furrows and were judged on a number of criteria, including cleanliness of lines.

Organiser Brian Curtis said: “It was great atmosphere and the weather held up nicely. It is always very interesting for the public to see.

“And the competitors enjoy the camaraderie of seeing those they have competed against in the past.

“We held a welcome dinner for them at Clumber Park on Thursday night and a hog roast in the field on Saturday afternoon serving 127 people.

“It was a great atmosphere and everybody enjoyed it.”

Though some competitors are farmers, many, like ex-mining engineer Brian, are just enthusiasts who enjoy maintaining the tractors and ploughs and attending the championships.

Seventy-two-year-old Brian, of Scarcliffe, has competed twice in the competition and placed second in 1989. This year’s first place Goodyear Cup was taken by English contender John Milnes.

Brian’s love of traditional ploughing came from his father, who was a Langwith farmer and competition ploughman.

The Scarcliffe man’s machine was made by Ransomes, of Ipswich, and is an RSDL No.9. But most competitor’s tractors, if not Ransomes are spin-offs.

As you can imagine, an event of this scale requires some planning and expertise but Brian too it all in his stride.

“We have been planning this for two years and have been busy - it was very hectic but we expected it,” he said.

The championships were held in Belguim last year and will be in the Republic of Ireland next year.

If you are interested in traditional ploughing then the Society of Ploughmen offers the chance to meet up with other enthusiasts.

The society was founded in 1972 and is a registered charity run by volunteers from the farming community.

It is responsible for the organisation of the British National Ploughing Championships and for managing the England World and European Ploughing Teams.

With more than 250 local ploughing societies affiliated to it and a membership drawn from ploughmen and women from all over the world, the society is a vibrant, thriving organisation and an influential member of the World Ploughing Organization.

For more information visit www.ploughmen.co.uk.