I manage to coordinate being in town, driving out of town, and getting to see this event, about once every seven years.
But--it's magnificent, and if I had a doppelgänger, this event would definitely be one of the places I'd send her.
The teams, the best ones, almost dance on their way to the sled, they're so eager. Then, when they are putting the burst on and moving into the pull, they suddenly become--so small, so nimble, so lithe. They almost no longer look like horses. They move like snakes, or something feline.
I first saw this kind of competition as a child, at the Chester Fair in Connecticut. Those competitions took place after dark (cooler I suppose for the horses), with floodlights, and the horses visibly steaming and throwing out droplets of sweat and spray in that silver light. Images from those nights are indelibly ingrained in my head, the noise and the light and the great heart of the animals. I'm so grateful I get to connect back to that as an adult.
The Minnesota State Fair, which is a lot easier for me to get to, doesn't sponsor this kind of competition.
Overall the crafts and arts I have seen in recent years at the State and County Fairs tend to depress me. I see a lot of crafts made straight up from kits, and the paintings tend all to be wooden representations of photos. The Lego constructions are especially dreary--the last decade or so of Lego kits has really done a job on the American child's imagination, or so it feels.
But potato dressing--there were some great entries. Nice to see the creative mode in action, and so refreshed!