A local man has competed in the world ploughing championship which were recently held in Baudette, Minnesota, USA.
James Coulter from Dromore, reversible ploughman and Andrew Gill from Saintfield, conventional ploughman were the two Northern Ireland competitors who were joined by team members Adrian Jamison World Board Member, David Gill judge and Ronald Coulter BEM team coach and James’s dad.
Andrew was able to borrow a tractor and plough from friends in Minnesota while James shipped his plough to Grand Valley Ontario.
James explained: “Suitable tractors for use with my plough are scarce in North America and I was pleased to get a tractor the same as I use at home from Dyarrel Hoststruser. Ronald, my dad, travelled to Ontario to prepare the tractor for the Championship. The tractor and plough was transported to Baudette by a family friend Brian Davenport some one thousand miles away. Once we got there we had one week’s unofficial practice before the official week of the Championship, during which Andrew and I spent valuable time getting used to our equipment.”
Despite this being both competitors first World Championship, they soon were producing quality workmanship and were attracting a lot of attention.
James continued: “A lot of hard work went into the pre-practice week with Andrew and I producing plot after plot of excellent work. For the official week we were accommodated in resorts on the shore of the Lake of the Woods, a lake which covers 1679 square miles and has 14632 islands. Official practice continued from Monday to Thursday and we continued to improve and were well prepared for the competition.”
Friday was the stubble competition and Andrew drew the worst plot in his section and was disappointed, however he handled it well and achieved third place.
However James was fortunate with the plot he had drawn and ploughed a good plot. However a couple of technical errors cost him dear and he was disappointed with 10th place.
Saturday was the grassland competition and Andrew again was unlucky with draw in his section and again excelled in a difficult plot and finished in fourth place. While James was again fortunate with his plot and produced the performance of his life and it was no surprise to achieve third place.
At the Gala dinner and prize giving Andrew and James were awarded their bronze medals and also were both awarded the trophies for the highest placed first time ploughmen. In the overall standings Andrew finished fourth overall and James fifth overall.
James added: “The American ploughing organization proved to be excellent hosts and it was good to meet old friends and make some new ones. We greatly appreciate all the practical and financial help given to us without which this trip would not have been possible.”