County plowing match a hit with young and old

At age 91, Arnold Rife has attended more plowing matches than just about anyone, but he doesn’t let that go to his head.

“You can still learn something every day,” Rife said on Aug. 20 at the 71st Wellington County Plowing Match.

Held at the farm of George Robinson on County Road 39, just north of Guelph, the match hosted lots of competitors, but none with more experience than Rife.

The Kitchener native began plowing at age 13 and three years later, in 1934, he attended his first ever International Plowing Match at Maryvale Farm in Wexford, which is now part of eastern Toronto. He recalled how he and a friend travelled to the event in a beat up 1927 Pontiac, with just $12 between them.

“But that got us all the way there and back,” Rife said with a smile.

Having farmed in Waterloo region for decades, Rife seemed confident in asserting his 1957 Massey-Ferguson 50 is “one of the nicest tractors” ever made.

But Howard Timbers, of Aurora, likes his 1951 Massey-Harris 30 just fine and light-heartedly expressed regret that one of his plans for the day was foiled by Rife.

“I try [to be the oldest participant] every time, but I never get it,” quipped the 79-year-old. But regardless, both men seemed to be having a ball at the plowing match.

“Just as long as it don’t rain,” Rife said, gazing skyward.

Unfortunately, it did begin to spit shortly thereafter, but its hard to imagine any amount of precipitation would dampen the spirits of competitors like Rife.

Results of the plowing match were unavailable by press time. Check online at for future updates.