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This year’s county fair is pulling for you

The Poweshiek County Fair is turning the entertainment horsepower level up a few notches this year.

Midwest Dynamometer Pulling headlines several high-octane entertainment events slated for this year’s Poweshiek County Fair, July 22-27 in Grinnell.

Dustin Stowell of Montezuma and the Iowa City-based BackDrop Band will headline an alcohol and drug-free teen concert Friday night in the showring.

Saturday evening, Danny Grause and the Uncle Tater Band will be stopping by for some music and fun.

Horse Pull

The draft horse pull gets underway at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25, in the horse arena. Bryan Davis of Grinnell and his pulling partner, Virgil Buffington of Jamesport, Mo., expect about a dozen teams of Belgian horses to duel it out for the top prize.

Midwest Dynamometer Pulling is unlike some horse pulls that use a weighted sled. The group utilizes a 1937 Ford pickup mounted with one of the last remaining dynamometers designed and built in 1925 by the late E.V. Collins at Iowa State College (now University).

“The truck and dynamometer was originally designed to measure how many horses it took to use on a one-bottom or two-bottom plow or other farm implement,” said Davis.

Demonstrations took place at county and state fairs throughout the Midwest for many years. The late Clifford Buffington, Virgil’s father, traveled with the machine throughout the Midwest from the 1940s – 1972, when the State of Iowa sold it.

Four of the original dynamometers are still in use today.

Last year Davis and Buffington purchased the dynamometer in Wisconsin and brought it back to Iowa.

“We are bringing it back to the Midwest,” said Davis.

Teams of horse will be divided into two groups – lightweight, 3,500 pounds and under; and heavyweight, more than 3,500 pounds. A full pull is 27.5 feet. The truck, with mounted dynamometer, weighs about 2,000 pounds. From 250-300 pounds in weight is added with each pull until the last team of horses is left standing.

“It’s a pulling contest,” said Davis. “One guy is judging his horses against another man’s horses.”

Davis said some of the best horse pullers with deep roots in the sport would be coming to Grinnell.

“People will see some big draft horses and lots of pulling action,” said Davis.

Teen Concert

The Friday night concert is sure to please the teens, but people of all ages are welcome.

Dustin Stowell of Montezuma will be on stage beginning at 8 p.m.

“It will be my guitar and me” said Stowell who has been performing to audiences for about seven years. Stowell, who works at Montezuma Manufacturing by day, said he plays acoustic guitar and enjoys music of Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Sublime. He also enjoys playing music by Clearance Clearwater Revival and the Eagles.

“I like the laid back acoustic songs,” said Stowell.

Following Stowell at 9 p.m. is the BackDrop Band. The band consist of, Landen Boyer on vocals/guitar, Brandon Hanes on drums, Alex Wiese on bass, and Ben Bachelder on guitar.

“We play primarily pop/rock music,” said Boyer. “Our tone has more of an alternative vibe to it, but the focus within our songs is the vocal parts, which we aim to make as catchy and melodic as possible, which, in turn, creates pop music.”

Members of the BackDrop Band grew up together and played in several venues. The group split when the band members went different ways in college, but reformed in September 2007 as the BackDrop Band.

“After college, split the group a bit, Alex joined up with me and Brandon, and until recently, we played as a three piece,” said Boyer. “A week ago Ben joined BackDrop, so now we are playing as a four piece.”

The band recently released their debut album entitled “The EP,” which contains five songs. They are: “Halfway There,” “All We Have,” “Sitting Lonely,” “Wish You Were Mine,” and “Inside.”

“Our shows are high energy and involve crowd interaction,” said Boyer.

Uncle Tater

The style of music will change for Saturday night’s concert with Danny Grause and the Uncle Tater Band, but don’t expect the energy level to lower any.

“This band is high-energy and has never been accused of leaving the party early,” said Grause who has been the front man for the Ames-based band since 2007. “Expect great music and high-energy stage antics that will keep everybody entertained from beginning to end.”

Danny Grause and the Uncle Tater Band is labeled a contemporary country band, and play a mix of original material, new/classic country, and classic rock.

“We perform some of my original material, including an ode to skinny dipping called “Don’t Tell Mama,” and the heart-felt ballad “You’re Supposed To Know I’m Lying,” said Grause, who also plays guitar and percussion in the band.

Joining Grause in the band is Tommy Walker on vocals and guitar, Steve Carter on vocals and steel guitar, BJ Conway on vocals, and drums, and Brian Corley on bass. Grause is currently recording a solo debut album expected out in early 2010.

“We ’re looking forward t o putting on a great show for the people of Poweshiek County!” said Grause.

Other events

Kay Haines is returning with her chuckwagon and will be cooking cowboy stew, homemade cobbler and other old west favorites over hot coals. Be sure to stop by for a sample.

The showring and horse arena will once again be filled with excitement as area 4-H’ers and FFA members compete for ribbons and a chance to be named grand champion during various animal-judging competitions beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, July 23, with the dog show.

Two area teens are vying for the 2009 Poweshiek County Fair Queen title. They are: Stephanie Haines and Stephanie Larsen, both Grinnell. The crowning takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 22, in the showring.

Other events include the annual Farm Bureau cooking contest, a kiddie tractor pull, open class judging, Bill Rielly talent show, crowning of the 2009 senior king and queen, Farm Bureau watermelon feed, animal costume contest and a variety of youth activities.

Following is the schedule of events:

Wednesday, July 22

12 p.m. — All livestock, except poultry, rabbits, sheep and meat goats may start arriving at the fairgrounds

6:30 p.m. — Swine weigh-in begins

4 to 7 p.m. — All rabbits, poultry, sheep, and meat goats will be checked in by fair personnel or by the fair veterinarian

7 p.m. — Poweshiek County Fair Queen pageant (showring)

8 – 9 p.m. – Animal costume contest (showring)

Thursday, July 23

7 to 9 a.m. — Beef weigh in

7:45 a.m. — Flag-raising ceremony

8 a.m. — 4-H/FFA dog show (showring);

Exhibit building opens to the public

8:30 a.m. — All livestock must be on grounds

11:30 a.m. – Dairy cattle and goat show (showring)

12:30 p.m. — Bottle calf conference judging (showring)

2 p.m. — Youth activity (patio)

3 p.m. — 4-H/FFA poultry show (showring)

4 to 6 p.m. — Open-class entries accepted

4 to 8 p.m. — Open-class entries judged

5:30 p.m. — 4-H/FFA llama and bottle calf show (showring)

6:30 p.m. — Bottle lamb conference judging

7:45 p.m. — Crowning of the 2009

Poweshiek County Senior King and Queen (showring)

8 p.m. — Talent show (showring); exhibit building closes

Friday, July 24

8 a.m. — 4-H/FFA sheep and meat goat show (showring); Exhibit building opens to the public

9 a.m. — 4-H horticulture judging (exhibit building)

10 a.m. — Youth activity (patio)

11 a.m. — Open-class horticulture judging (exhibit building)

1 p.m. — 4-H/FFA horse show judging (halter)

4 p.m. — 4-H/FFA horse show judging (performance)

6:30 p.m. — Kiddie tractor pull

7:30 p.m. — Volleyball

8 p.m. — Dustin Stowell – teen event (showring); exhibit building closes

9 p.m. – BackDrop Band – teen event (showring)

Saturday, July 25

All Day — Chuckwagon cooking exhibit (Kay Haines)

8 a.m. — 4-H/FFA swine show judging (showring); exhibit building opens

12 p.m. — Farm Bureau cooking contest

3 p.m. —Farm Bureau watermelon feed

3 to 7 p.m. – Draft horse pull (horse arena)

5 to 7 p.m. — SCE-sponsored dinner for exhibitors and parents

6:30 p.m. — Ice cream sundae fundraiser (4-H County Council)

7:30 p.m. — Community-sponsored awards (show ring)

8 p.m. — Danny Grause & The Uncle Tater Band (showring); exhibit building closes

Sunday, July 26

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Chuckwagon cooking exhibit (Kay Haines)

11 a.m. — Church service – Blue Point/Heritage Park

12 p.m. — Exhibit building opens.

1 p.m. — 4-H/FFA beef show (showring)

5 p.m. — 4-H/FFA horse show (game classes in horse arena)

7 to 8:30 p.m. — game night

8 p.m. — Exhibit building closes

9 p.m. — Youth activity (patio)

Monday, July 27

8 a.m. — 4-H/FFA rabbit show (showring); exhibit building opens.

12 p.m. — Livestock judging contest; all projects to be sold must be signed up

1 to 2 p.m. — Youth activity

2 p.m. — All exhibits in exhibit building not selling will be released

3 p.m. — All livestock not selling will be released

4:30 p.m. — Herdsmanship/judging contest awards (showring)

5 p.m. — Project sale (showring) - McIlrath Auctioneering will be the clerk. Sale order: non-livestock, swine, sheep/goats, beef/bottle calf, rabbit, poultry and swine.

UPDATED July 21, 2009 1:43 PM

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