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Pulling for him
 

FARMINGTON - Rock and Chet were reunited Friday at Farmington Fair for the 3,400-pound class pull held in memory of their former owner.

The team won, as they had many times before for Robert Tibbetts Sr. of Jay, by pulling 7,950 pounds 526 feet, 10 inches.

Tibbetts died Feb. 10 of stomach cancer at the age of 63. His family purchased trophies and blankets for the winners Friday.

Robert Tibbetts Jr. said it was a heartwarming win this year.

One of the horses was sold to his brother, Darrell, of Jay. The owner of the other horse teamed them together once more so Darrell could compete in the memorial pull, Robert said.

Tibbetts Sr., a woodsman, loved horse pulling and competed all over the state and New England, Robert Jr. said.

He pulled with Rock and Chet "a good many years," fair official Herbert Mosher said.

Tibbetts' love of the sport developed from his father, Ray Tibbetts, and grew into a hobby that saw him bring numerous horses from the west to Farmington for local teamsters to buy and use to pull, Robert said, as he pointed to a display of photos and newspaper stories written about his father.

Tourists would stop to watch the horses Tibbetts Sr. owned and pastured while he was living on Route 27 in Farmington, he said. People would come to buy and trade as his father did much to promote his favorite hobby, he said.

Later, he moved to Livermore and then Jay, where he devoted his efforts to his own teams, winning hundreds of blue ribbons over the years. He was named to the Hall of Fame for the Maine Draft Horse and Oxen Pulling, he said.

One of his father's favorite sayings, Tibbetts Jr. said, was "'When I come to pull, I didn't come to be second or third. My priority is to be first.'"

To enter the 3,400 class, the pair must not be over that weight. The pull is measured by the distance pulled over five minutes.

"The winners are the ones with the most wind, good legs and muscles," he said, "Then you go to your limit and give it all you've got."

A teamster has to devote at least three hours a day to training during the season from April to October, Mosher said.

During the winter they spend time talking about who has what horse and how they'll do during the season, Tibbetts Jr. said.

It's an expensive hobby with horses bought for $5,000 to $10,000 or more, he said. The teamster also has to have an eye to see what horses will click together. You can't just take a couple of horses and put them together and expect them to be a team, he said.

Article Courtesy of sunjournal.com



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