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HARRISBURG – After months of strenuous training, teams of ponies were brought in from all across Pennsylvania to compete in the Champion Pony Pulling Contest on Jan. 13 at the 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show.  The six champion ponies pulled a total of 5,820 more pounds than last year’s champions.
To compete in the event, a competitor must enter a pair of ponies in hopes that the team can pull a weighted sled the farthest distance.  Months of training and practice are necessary for the ponies to build up strength to compete in such an event.
The Jenny Brothers of Rochester, Beaver County, drove their ponies to a victory in the lightweight division by pulling a weight of 6,750 pounds for a full pull, or 13 feet 6 inches.  Their pull was an increase of 2,230 pounds from their own winning pull in 2008 when their ponies pulled a weight of 4,520 in a full pull.
In the middleweight division, Jathan Allen of Troy, Bradford County, and Joe Catterton of Chambersburg, Franklin County, won first place with a pull of 7,650 lbs.  Their pull beat last years pull of 5,540 by 2,110 pounds. Joe, who has been working with horses his entire life, also won second place in the heavyweight pony division.
Ponies exhibited by Brian Allen of Troy, Bradford County, won the heavyweight division by pulling a weight of 9,000 pounds in a full pull.  Their pull beat the winning heavyweight pull in 2008 by 1,480 pounds.
The combined weight of the horses determines in which class they compete – lightweight, less than 1,450 pounds; middleweight, between 1,451 and 1,800 pounds; and the heavyweight, between 1,801 and 2,400 pounds.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 270 commercial exhibitors.  The eight-day show is Jan. 10-17, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg.  Admission is free and parking is $8. 
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For photos of the competition winners, click here.