OCPA Plowing Match Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Historic Event

The Ottawa Carleton Plowmen’s Association (OCPA) Plowing Match was held on August 25 – 26, 2023, across from 3285 Eagleson Road, Richmond, owned by Chris and Tricia Schouten.

On Friday, there was a brief opening ceremony followed by a VIP Plowing Competition. From a field of 9 local VIPs, the first-place winner was Goldie Ghamari, MPP Carleton; in second was first-time plower Mark Sutcliffe, Ottawa Mayor; and third was George Darouze, Ottawa Councillor for Osgoode Ward.

Saturday’s competition drew 14 plowers using both modern and vintage tractors as well as horses to vie for titles in the OCPA Plowing Match. The judge for the day was Allan Carruthers and the stewards were Lawrence Payne and Ray St. Denis.

Councillor David Brown takes part in the VIP Plowing Match.

“The participation and calibre of competition was outstanding again this year and we were glad that the weather held up as well,” said Don Good, OCPA President. “Our thanks are extended to our hosts, Chris and Tricia Schouten, as well as to our volunteers, plowers, and sponsors, and to Delta Power Equipment of Richmond for displaying some of their equipment.”

An awards banquet celebrated the day’s winners along with the marking the 40th anniversary of OCPA hosting the International Plowing Match in Richmond in 1983. To commemorate the occasion, there was a ‘Meet & Greet’ reception at the plowing site along with recognition of the committee chairs and their members from the 1983 IPM who were extended complimentary invitations to the banquet.

According to Tupper, it was the largest event ever held in Ottawa-Carleton.  As a plus the event realized a substantial profit.  However it was more than that.  It was a remarkable social event.  Committee members from across Ottawa Carleton made life-long friendships.  They were proud to have organized the plowing match, and they were even more proud to be a part of an agriculture community which had the vision and talent to seek out and organize such an event.

Dr. Bill Tupper gave a history of the 1983 International Plowing Match.

The proceeds from the Plowing Match were in large part used to create two endowment funds which would provide bursaries and scholarships for students from Ottawa-Carleton who were studying agriculture.  One of the endowment funds was set-up at the Kemptville College of Agriculture, the other at the University of Guelph.  Shortly after the endowment funds were created the Province of Ontario developed a program to assist students by matching funds obtained by Colleges and Universities for bursaries and scholarships.  The endowment funds qualified and doubled in value. The University of Guelph has managed the endowment funds in a very professional manner. Only the earnings from the endowment funds are used to fund the bursaries and scholarships.  When the Kemptville College of Agriculture closed in 2014 that endowment fund was transferred to the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph.

Councillor George Darouze.

Currently three scholarships are awarded annually at the University of Guelph, one in the College of Agriculture, one in the College of Veterinary Medicine and one in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition.  Students from Ottawa entering second year in the above programs at Guelph are eligible to apply for the 1983 plowing match scholarships.  Students from Ottawa enrolled at the Ridgetown Campus who are entering the second year of an Associate Diploma program in agriculture, environment management, horticulture, or veterinary technology are eligible to apply for the scholarships (merit) and bursaries (need).

MPP Goldie Ghamari won the VIP Plowing Match.

Marc Dessaint a big winner

It was a big day for Jean Marc Dessaint of Sarsfield who placed top-of-class in the Antique Tractor Class (open split required) Trail Plows 1946 – 1960; Best Antique Plow Person; Best Open Split; Best Crown; Best Finish; and Oldest Plowing Tractor on a MH22 – 1949.

Allen Hills of Ashton also had a good day winning 2-Furrow Mounted Plow – Open (open split required) 21 years and over; Best Plowed Land Overall; Best Plowed Land Conventional; and shared the CPC-16 Award with Brian Maitland, Robert Maitland and Mark Dowdall.

Alex Dowdall (17) of Lanark took top spot in the 2-Furrow Mounted Plow – Open (open split required) for 16 – 20 years; Best Plowed Land (20 years and under); and Youngest Female Plower.

In the conventional division, Brad Moore of Chesterville won 2-Furrow Mounted Plow – Amateur (open split not required) 21 years and over. Whereas Stephen Manley of Berwick won the 3-Furrow Plow – Open (open split require) for 21 years and over.

Antique Tractor Class (open split require) Trail Plows was won by Denis Bourbonnais of Gatineau, QC.

Best Plow Team over/under 20 years using the same tractor/team and plow went to Mark Dowdall and Alex Dowdall of Lanark.

In the Horse Classes, Glenn Conway of Chute a Blondeau, ON, won Jointer Plow Open, Champion Horse Plowperson, and Person Who Drove the Farthest. 

Prizes for the Oldest Plower went to Lyle Killeen (82) of Carp and Youngest Male Plower to Robert Maitland (29) of Jasper.

All plowers must compete at local matches to be eligible to advance to the 2023 International Plowing Match (IPM) and Rural Expo to be held in Bowling Green, Ontario, September 19-23. Plans are also progressing for IPM 2024 to be held at the Lindsay Exhibition Grounds in Kawartha Lakes.