Typically, Lake of the Woods is the walleye capital of the world. This past week, it was the ploughing capital of the world as 28 countries of competitors, judges, coaches, family, friends and visitors participated in the 2019 World Ploughing Contest just south of Baudette, Minn.
Many of the competitors shipped their tractors and ploughs across the world for the contest. To take part in this contest was like taking part in the Olympics of ploughing, according to a news release. Competitors had to win their nationwide contest to represent their country.
Many friends, family and fans traveled across the world to attend. Austria had 53 people fly in for the world contest.
An estimated crowd of 7,000 - 8,000 people attended this three-day event which featured the ploughing contest, five bands daily, food vendors, beer garden, displays, horse and mule ploughing demos and antique tractor displays.
The feedback from international visitors was over the top about the region, the people and quality of the contest, the release said.
"People are so welcoming here," said a competitor from Northern Ireland. "Folks say hi to you in the stores, they actually take the time to chat with you."
A competitor from England said, "This was one of the best run contests I have been to. The organization of the event, facilities and even the land are just great."
Residents who had the privilege to rub elbows with international guests over the past few weeks were impressed.
"I still can't believe all of these people from around the world are here in Baudette," said a smiling resident as they were departing the contest. "It's so much fun talking to people with such different backgrounds and of course cool accents."
Welcoming guests from all over the world was a first for this small northern Minnesota community. As the saying goes, it takes a village. In this case, that meant more than 100 volunteers giving their time and talent ensuring the event went well and the entire region was well received.
Law enforcement and emergency medical personnel were well prepared, well staffed and ready. The city of Baudette and Lake of the Woods County added support in a variety of ways. Many people spent time over the holiday weekend ensuring things went well.
The World Ploughing Contest rotates to a different country each year and most likely will not be back to the U.S. for 30 years. Next year, the 2020 contest will be held in Russia.
The winners of the 2019 World Ploughing Contest:
Conventional ploughing division
- Andrew Mitchell, Scotland
- Eamonn Tracey, Republic of Ireland
- Gene Gruber, USA
Reversible ploughing division
- Marco Angst, Switzerland
- John Whelan, Republic of Ireland
- Soren Korsgaard, Denmark
The mantra of the World Ploughing Organization is a Latin phrase, “Pax Arva Colat.” Translated, it means, "let peace cultivate the land.” For a short time, a farm field just south of Baudette was the site for international peace, friendships and competition.