Photo by Rebecca Lorenz
Youth draft winner and Maxwell fifth grader Ellery "Jet" Simpson with his purple ribbon and team owner Keith Rudeen of Elm Creek.
A couple of miles north of Maxwell sits the Meyer Triangle Ranch, long respected as a raiser of Hereford cattle and Belgian horses.
While the ranch has adapted to the times with cattle other than Herefords, they still proudly raise only registered Belgian draft horses.
On Saturday at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island, the Triangle Ranch represented itself well during the draft horse competitions held in the Thompson Arena.
The competitions consisted of teams of Belgian, Clydesdale and Percheron draft horses and large mules in teams of two, hauling a farm wagon through various exercises and maneuvers.
To say that draft horses are a family affair for the Meyers would be an understatement. Patriarch Lynn Meyer started things by winning the adult male division of draft horsemanship. This was followed up by Matriarch Linda Meyer winning the adult female division.
As if this was not enough for one family, Lynn and Linda's grandson Ellery "Jet" Simpson won the youth draft horsemanship division, while granddaughter Sara Meyer was runner-up and Sara's brother Jack took fifth.
Adding credibility to the accomplishments is the fact that each division contained historically high entries of a dozen or more entries.
"I didn't know anyone still did this" said Ethan Pesak of Loup City. It is hard to believe that until 75 years ago most farms in Nebraska relied on horsepower for planting, harvesting and hauling grain to market.
"I was touched to see that these children will carry on this tradition and not let this die," said Julie Inkster of Hebron.
Our hats off to the Meyer Family and all of those keeping the draft horse tradition alive.